Horse Slaughter Mystery Continues in South Florida

The discovery of another slaughtered horse -- this time a prized racehorse -- has deepend the mystery of a spate of grotesque mutilations in south Florida this year.

Police and animal rights advocates believe the slaughters may be sparked by the exhorbitant asking price for horse meat in that part of the country, but have not been able to track down who has killed as many as 20 animals.

The latest horse to be mutiliated was a 4 1/2-year-old racehorse named Kristi, found in it's Miami Gardens, Fla., stall, her throat slit and back legs removed, according to the Miami Herald.

Video: Florida police continue to investigate horse murders.
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Owner Yosmel Luis found his horse dead earlier today when he visited the stable to feed her.

"He has no idea how bad I want to find him,'' Luis told the Herald, referring to the killer. "It's so cruel. It's murder like if they killed a person. The only thing worse than killing my horse would be killing my daughter and my mother and father.''

The Herald also reported that the Miami Gardens police were in contact with authorities in Miami-Dade County, where more than a dozen horses have been killed since January.

In what has seemed like scenes right out of a Wes Craven horror movie -- the equine version -- horses have been killed in that time, some even hacked alive while the butcher did his work, their carcasses strewn along roads and farms.

Photos of the aftermath sent to ABC News were too graphic for use. Horse remains have been discovered mutilated, body parts hacked at the limbs and meat cut away from their stomachs, some apparently killed in remote locations and others on the horse owners' property, slaughtered in their own stalls.

Public information officer Nick Pimentel of the Miami-Dade Police Department said investigators are working hard to find the perpetrator and the officers directly involved in the investigation were unavailable for comment.

"All entities are trying to locate who these people are and what they are doing with the horses and what they are doing with the meat," Pimentel told ABC News.

Richard Couto, an investigator with the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was on the scene of the latest ghastly discovery.

"It is one of the more disturbing stories. There was a foal, a baby involved. I got to the scene, the horse was killed by a knife that went under her chin, and she died a slow, grueling death. The reason I know this is because the blood trail was just everywhere," Couto told ABC News.

"And the foal never leaves the mother's side, so the baby was certainly by her side while they were carving her up. The owner found the baby trying to nurse off the mother's carcass," he added.

It appears that no neighborhood is safer than the other. According to Keith Dane, director of equine protection at the Humane Society of the United States, the killings have been all over the map.

"It's been really varied in terms of who the owners and victims are," he said. "There have been some farms that raise horses, private families that own horses on their property. Most of the instances have been in remote locations where there isn't a lot of traffic. The more remote the location the less likely the violator is going to be caught."

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