Florida Man Sentenced In Poaching Case

A Florida man has been sentenced to five years in prison for poaching and butchering two horses for their meat.

In July 2009 law enforcement officers discovered a dead horse in a pasture which had apparently been butchered for it’s meat. The horse, named "King Quizi" had been lured from his stall at "A Lazy L Ranch" and had his throat cut and his legs amputated apparently while still alive. After several months of investigation, police arrested Santiago Cabrera in Miami-Dade County. Cabrera later confessed to another similar killing in Miami Gardens, involving Luis Miguel Cordero, who was also subsequently arrested. Cordero and Cabrera were charged with armed burglary, animal cruelty, and killing a registered breed horse. Horse meat is valuable on the Miami black market.

While Cabrera pleaded guilty to all charges, he was described as "mentally retarded" by his attorney. And because he was only 18 at the time of the crime, his attorney argued that the 5-year sentence was "too harsh". In addition, his mother apologized to the court and to the families of the horses. But Miami-Dade State’s Attorney’s Office spokesman Ed Griffith said the sentence sent a statement of intent about how serious they are about prosecuting poaching cases, which have become common in certain areas of Miami.

The President of the Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Jeanette Jordan, told the Miami Herald that Cabrera’s sentence did not result in victory: "There are no winners here. Cabrera is going to jail, but nothing can alter the fact that two beautiful, innocent creatures suffered brutal deaths. He has ruined his own life and broken his parents’ hearts, all for what? So a small number of people can eat horsemeat?"

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