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Thirty-three horses seized by Florida authorities

August 20, 2009

Three of the horses before their removal.

Authorities in Florida have seized 33 horses from a Marion County property, some of them up to 227 kilograms underweight.

The Wednesday operation was the second major horse seizure in Florida this week. On Tuesday, 11 horses were removed from a property in Miama-Dade County.

Marion County Animal Services executed a search warrant and seized the 33 horses from a Morriston farm, saying the owner failed to provide sufficient food and water for his horses.

Animal programme co-ordinator Christy Jergens said the majority of the horses were 400-500 pounds (181-227kg) underweight.

Animal Services will file for custody of the animals in court and pursue animal cruelty charges against the owner, named by the county as Lope M. Gonzalez, a Miami resident.

A member of the public contacted Animal Services on May 27, which initiated the case.

Animal officers visited the farm regularly to monitor conditions of the horses.

Animal Services talked to the animal owner on "multiple occasions" about proper care needed for his horses, and explained the consequences of not providing the necessary care.

"Gonzalez repeatedly failed to provide adequate care for his horses, which led to a steady decline in the animals' health," Animal Services said in a statement.

"Animal Services is currently caring for all of the horses and providing them with food, water and medical care."



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