In these tough economic times, Miamians find themselves cutting new corners to make ends meet. As unemployed 39-year old Hialeah resident Ricardo Caonwahi tells us, that can sometimes mean making a meal out of a pony. Yes, a miniature horse.
Caonwahi is being charged with three misdemeanors- creating a sanitary nuisance, cruelty to animals, and violating animal disposal law- for the fateful events of November 26, 2008. Hialeah cops say he killed and gutted his own pony, but then decided against eating it and tossed it in a dumpster outside of his house. But in a Riptide exclusive, Caonwahi makes his defense. In his own words:
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I was driving home when I saw it. It was four pieces of the horse, lying in the middle of Okeechobee Road. It was cut real cleanly. It was
cut with one leg per each piece, and one piece still had the head on
It was the day before Thanksgiving, and I had eaten horse years before. It's high in fiber. Whenever you're low in fiber, just eat a piece of horse. My dad used to take me to buy it at local farms (my father was from Argentina, my mother's from Cuba). The farmers kill it right there or keep it in the fridges. You got to know somebody, for them to come out with the horse meat. Not just anybody can go in and say, 'Hey, can I have some horse meat?'
That's how I had the idea, of eating the horse parts. I had some garbage bags in the back seat. So I just put the horse parts in the bag and took it home. I put them in my bathtub, and started cleaning the horse. But after I cleaned it, I decided not to eat it, because I got a
little sick looking at it. I didn't know if I had cleaned it real well. So I put the remains of the horse in a dumpster on my property. I figured nobody would ever know.
But it started stinking and my next door neighbor, John, squealed on me. He was mad at me because we had a little push and shove earlier. He moved away now. He's my ex-neighbor now. Miami-Dade police came, and I was arrested. Later, they added the cruelty to animals charge.
I made a mistake and told the police that I had 'slaughtered' the horse. I didn't know that mean 'kill'. I thought 'slaughter' meant opening up the horse and cleaning it.
My public defender says I have a chance, because nobody saw me bring in a live horse. I don't think picking up a horse in four pieces should be a crime. Yeah, I do admit that I should've found a better place to put the horse remains.
I've had a couple of misdemeanors before, but never animal cruelty or anything like that. You know, I have a cat.
A date has not yet been set for the trial, which will be heard in front of a jury. Best believe Riptide will be providing updates.