Prosecutors finally charged two competitive bodybuilders with animal abuse dating back to May of this year when three gaunt, emaciated horses were discovered on their property in South Miami-Dade in Florida. According to the primary source, Miami Herald, the three starved horses were confiscated by Miami-Dade’s Agricultural Patrol and brought to the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals [SFSPCA] for rehabilitation. On Friday Oct. 23, 2015, Alex Paez, 48, and Milagros Cowan, 50, were each charged with four misdemeanor counts of animal abuse.
Alexander Michaels, the lawyer for Paez and Cowan, said on Friday that the current charges “were no big deal.” He stated, “I wish the police would spend more time on human victims and child victims, than on horses who skipped a meal.”
It has taken months for the prosecutor to bring charges to the pair for the animal cruelty. Paez gave a promise to appear and will be back in court in December. When asked about the horses, Paez and Cowan said they were “a little thin and just needed to be dewormed.” They said that the horses’ hooves were “not that bad.”
It does seem, however, that the attorney, Paez and Cowan have a vastly different opinion of the gravity of the horses’ health and conditions than officials. The director of ranch operations of the SFSPCA, Laurie Waggoner, and officers from the Agricultural Patrol found the three horses. Two of the horses were severely emaciated with a body score of “1” on the Henneke Body Condition Scale. Each horse had badly overgrown hooves and probably had not been trimmed in well over a year. One horse had difficulty walking because of very long hooves.
Stall conditions were awful for each of the horses. Each stall was filthy and had most likely not been mucked out in a very long time. Feed and water containers with feces in them were on the stall floors. The grounds outside were littered with dangerous objects for horses including old boats, buckets of paint, fiberglass, cutting objects, outboard engines and lots of garbage. It was nearly impossible to walk around without stepping on something. Worse, there was absolutely no place to turn out the horses.
The horses have been in the care of the SFSPCA with attention by veterinarian Dr. Zachary Franklin of Templeton & Franklin Veterinary Associates, and from farrier Scott Schrofronick.
The horses were not always in such unhealthy condition. Photos posted online of the pair show a healthy gray mare at the beach. Since the picture was taken in 2014, the same mare was reduced to skin and bones.
Now the horses have come back to health. Waggoner said, “They’re doing well. They’ve gained a lot of weight. They’re friendly now. Before, you couldn’t touch them. They were completely wild.”