LOXAHATCHEE, FL (WFLX) - A horse was found slaughtered in the area of Northwest area of Loxahatchee on Monday night, according to Palm Beach County Animal Car & Control.
The remains of the slaughtered horse were inside garbage bags in a canal near 180th Avenue and 32nd Street, officials said.
Investigators say the slaughtered horse appears to be less that 12-years-old. "We hoped we would never see this in Palm Beach County, and this is really the first time we're seeing something like this here," Animal Care and Control Director Dianne Sauve said.
The throat of the horse was cut, according to animal control officials. They also said the meat was removed from dominant areas of the horse, including the tongue. "You have to wonder... did this horse belong to someone? Did a horse go missing and no one reported it? Did no one care whether this horse was missing? Or was this horse raised for this purpose," Sauve said.
Sauve says she is concerned there could be an underground black market for horse meat. "It is very secretive. It is comprised of people who know each other and who work together. It is very difficult, but not impossible to find people who are involved," Sauve said.
Authorities also found gloves inside the bag where the horse remains were found.
Neighbors in the area were stunned. "This is upsetting because you would think people who have horses out here would take care of them and ride them...not dismember them and eat them," neighbor Brienne Walters said.
Officials say its the first time in recent memory a horse has been found slaughtered in Palm Beach County.
Anyone with information is urged to contact 1-800-458-TIPS or Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control at 561-233-1200.
Investigators believe the horse may have been slaughtered for meat. In Florida, it is illegal to sell horse meat.