When Chis Emerson rode his horse Trigger into Miami-Dade County from South Carolina last Wednesday morning, locals were dismayed. The horse was in awful condition. His mouth was pockmarked with sores, one eye was blind, and his back was so raw and abused that he'd bite anyone who tried to touch it. Upon seeing Trigger's condition, Miami-Dade Police arrested Emerson for animal abuse Wednesday morning.
Trigger's case was upsetting, for sure. But given South Florida's long, weird history of horse abuse, illegal animal slaughter, and straight-up ritual mammalian murder, Trigger is lucky to have his life. According to the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, there's a massive illegal horse meat trade in South Florida — some members of the region's large immigrant population eat the meat because they believe it's healthy. But Miami's illegal slaughterhouse problems have reached the point that vigilante animal cops, such as Miami Beach's Richard Couto, have had to step up to track down animal murderers who've escaped justice.
Here, we recap five of the most insane cases of animal abuse in recent history:
1. In 2013, an illegal Miami slaughterhouse was found to be conducting ritual animal sacrifices.
ARM Investigations via YouTube
2. In 2014, a Miami man was charged with an insane 30 counts of animal cruelty for operating a slaughterhouse that allegedly killed animals with sledgehammers or by boiling them alive.
An injured rooster at Coco Farm.
Courtesy of ARM.
3. In 2015, the federal government conducted the largest slaughterhouse raid in U.S. history at an illegal farm in Doral.
Migdalia Cowan and Alex Paez were charged last year with cruelty to horses after allegedly starving the animals on their South Miami-Dade ranch.
Courtesy of South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
4. This year, two jacked professional bodybuilders were charged with horse abuse for letting their pets starve as they traveled the world.
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Courtesy of the South Florida SPCA
5. In August, horse parts began showing up randomly in Homestead, and the SPCA warned someone was stealing horses and butchering them.