FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A little more than two weeks after near two dozen horses were removed from his property, a Davie man has been charged.
Benjamin Mantilla, 54, is facing 21 counts of cruelty to animals.
On January 11th, Davie police were sent to Mantilla’s property at 1791 SW 139th Avenue after someone called to report several malnourished horses.
Officers found horses with rib cages protruding from the bodies, poorly maintained hooves and manure covered stalls. They also noted watering holes with no water and dirty buckets which the horses were forced to drink out of.
Inside the stalls, hot wires were rigged to keep the horses separated. A hot wire is an electrical wire which shocks the horses to keep them from moving. There were also live wires around the watering holes which would shock the horses if they attempted to drink from them.
Also in the stalls, the officers found ankle deep manure and puddles of urine.
In paddock area, they found horses standing more manure and puddles of urine.
Police contacted Victor Cutino of Peaceful Ridge Rescue to come get the 21 horses.
The following day, Mantilla told police during questioning that he was unable to properly care for the horses due to financial problems. He also agreed that the stalls and water buckets were not acceptable.
When asked why he didn’t contact an animal rescue agency for help, Mantilla replied that he was in a “dark place,” according to arrest form.
Cutino took, who took in 16 of the horses, said it will take months to return the horses to health so they can be adopted out. The other five were taken to a ranch in Pompano Beach.
Cutino said when the Paso Fino horses were discovered, they were in horrible condition.
“Their manes have never been touched at all, really knotted up, their tales were in the same condition. The body coats were filled with feces and their own urine. It’s horrible. It took us two hours to take that off one horse,” said Cutino.
Police brought in a veterinarian to examine each horse and based the charges on her findings.
If you are interested in helping out or perhaps even adopting one of the rescued horses, visit www.peacefulridgerescue.com.