Deputies in several counties in Central Florida are warning horse owners to be alert after multiple cases in which horses have been stolen and slaughtered in the past couple of weeks.
Manatee, Marion and Sumter counties are all investigating cases where horses have been stolen from their properties.
“There’s definitely a lot of concern and discussion about it and people are trying to take as many measures as they can to protect themselves,” said Annie Martin, a horse owner.
The first report was around Thanksgiving in Marion County.
The second report of a horse stolen came out of Manatee County on Dec. 2. Video shows a suspect in the case lurking around the farm where the horse was allegedly stolen.
Last week, Sumter County deputies and nearby neighbors said a beloved horse was stolen from its property after suspects cut a whole in the fence and lured it out. Its body was located in nearby foods.
There have been no reports of horses stolen in Lake County, but deputies are still warning horse owners.
“Be very vigilant, talk to your neighbors and put up cameras,” Martin said.
Investigators haven’t said if they believe the suspect caught on camera in Manatee County is responsible for all of the horses being slaughtered, but they did say they are sharing information with one another and looking into all avenues.
There are rewards of up to $1,000 in Sumter and Marion counties for information leading to arrests, and up to $13,000 in Manatee County.
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