Miami Beach Police Investigating Video of Horse Panicking Inside Club UPDATED

Miami Beach Police Investigating Video of Horse Panicking Inside Club UPDATED

Update: The City of Miami Beach has revoked Mokai's business license, saying that "this activity was not permitted."

A bikini-clad dancer rides a white horse into the middle of a raucous nightclub crowd — until the animal suddenly bucks, throwing off its rider and stamping in a panic around the club. The cheering crowd is suddenly horrified, gasping as the clearly distressed horse tries to escape the noisy room.

A video of the incident, which reportedly happened at the South Beach club Mokai this week, has blazed across Facebook this morning and led animal activists to demand action against the nightclub. Miami Beach Police say they're investigating.

"Last night MBPD was made aware of the alleged incident at Mokai," says Officer Ernesto Rodriguez, a spokesperson for the department. "We are very concerned over the allegations. As such, we have launched a joint investigation with Miami Beach Code Enforcement."

Mokai didn't immediately respond to New Times' request for comment and hasn't said anything on social media.

But furious commenters have descended on the Facebook page of the club, which is located at 23rd Street and Liberty Avenue just north of the Bass.

One woman posted at 2:53 a.m. Thursday and said she'd witnessed firsthand the horse freaking out.

"Tonight I was at Mokai and I have to say I was totally shocked!" writes the woman, who goes by Mccurly Curly on Facebook. "They brought a real horse in the club!! It's animal cruelty!!! I couldn't believe what happened there!!! These people are insane!!! I hate it so much... how could anyone do that???"
Florida International University graduate Leeza Marie Juelle helped spread the video after she saw it on a friend's page, she says.

"Shame on Mokai Lounge for ever allowing this to happen," Juelle writes. "I’ve reached out to local law enforcement and am hoping to hear back. I will also be sending this disturbing video to local news stations in hopes this nightclub can be penalized for the abuse of a poor and helpless animal. This is inhumane and deserves serious attention ASAP."

It's not clear whether having a live horse in a nightclub would violate Miami Beach code, but it's common sense that horses are easily spooked by loud noises and unfamiliar settings. It's hard to imagine any horse being calm inside a South Beach nightclub.
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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink