MIAMI (CBS4) – One of the two men accused of illegally slaughtering horses for their meat will serve a five-year prison sentence, a Miami-Dade judge ruled Friday.

Santiago Cabrera, 19, admitted to butchering horses alive after being arrested for his connection in the killing of horses in Southwest Miami-Dade.

Cabrera is accused of turning in his partner in crime Louis Cordero, 18, in an attempt to cash in the reward.

Dozens of horse owners and supporters packed the courtroom Friday, some spoke before the sentence was handed down asking the judge to issue a tough penalty. Miami-Dade commissioner Sally Heyman spoke as an individual.

“I’m here asking that we review the nature of this incident and proceed with the maximum penalty to send the message that this is intolerable,” Heyman told the judge.

Cabrera admitted to killing horses Nov. 17 and also plead guilty to several charges related to the horse killings that occurred last year, including armed burglary and animal cruelty.

During Friday’s sentencing, his parents spoke to the judge in Spanish pleading for mercy saying he had suffered from mental problems as a child.

“He was not a normal child,” said his mother Odalys Cabrera. “I beg you forgiveness because we are suffering.”

The sentence is perceived light by animal rights activists and horse owners.

“I’m not going to tolerate this,” said horse owner Ivan Rodriguez. “We are not going to stand and let this happen. They’re defenseless animals. Nobody understands the bond between a horse and its owner. Until you have that experience, you don’t know the loss that we feel.”

According to investigators, Cabrera, 19, admitted to being paid $500 to lure a 5-year-old thoroughbred horse named “King Quizi” out of his stall at the “A Lazy L Ranch” in the 12000 block of NW 157th Street.

Police say Cabrera held the horse while another person slit his throat. The intent was to sell the meat.

Miami-Dade Police said Cabrera also admitted to the slaughtering of a second horse in Miami Gardens. Cabrera said he and three other suspects entered the ranch at 5400 NW 159 Street where a horse was slaughtered with the intent to sell meat.

He told police he was paid $900 to help slaughter that horse.

Judge Sarah Zabel imposed the maximum penalty of five years under the plea deal Cabrera struck with the prosecutors.

“I do believe this young man knew right from wrong,” Zabel said in court. “I hope you get help.”

Comments (25)
  1. Arlene Francis says:


  2. Larressa Cochran says:

    I feel that theses guys conviction time should be longer. They should suffer just the same as the owners are suffering.

    1. P. Voss says:

      It is quite possible this man will suffer greatly in prison. Prisoners normally do not tolerate animal or child abuse of any kind and these crimes were heinous and cruel. I hope they get the punishment that they deserve on a daily basis.

      1. Nicola Adams says:

        I agree P. Rotting in hell would be a much more fitting punishment for this scumbag though!

  3. Stewart says:

    Dangerous Offenders…..hope you have their DNA profiles

  4. Pooh bear says:

    Why did his parents have to speak to the judge through an interpreter?
    Don’t want to learn English? Get out of my country.

    1. irfan aziz says:

      agree with u.. learn ENGLISH or get the F out of my country !!!!

      1. annette says:

        ditto to above……hope he suffers and never is allowed to own an animal

      2. Carol says:

        I couldn’t agree with more if I tried.

        Can you imagine how much it is costing all of us that we have to have someone in court to interpret what is being said to all these people who refuse to learn English and they get away with it.

      3. Cyndy says:

        Learn ENGLISH!!!! Perhaps his parents in SPANISH, ENGLISH, or CHINESE should have taught him RIGHT from WRONG. Until you have owened and loved a horse you will never know the grief that we horse lovers feel. No this scumb bag sits in our Prision and WE PAY FOR HIIM>>> Excuse me where is the justice here!!!

  5. Rhodman says:

    The purchasers of horse-meat should go before the judge for their sentencing too. They are a part of that crime also. If there were no market for this product, then there would be no supplier.

  6. Carol says:

    No matter what they give this person in jail that will not bring back these beautiful horses and that is a fact.

    His lawyer was saying he has a brain of five (5) year old but even at five (5) they know right from wrong but even a five (5) he seemed to know about money.

  7. Neil Liebeskind says:

    Five years? What a joke! Animal abusers are one step away from do the same to people. The penalties are way too light. Hoping someone slits his throat in prison. The scumbag knew exactly what he was doing. Don’t drop the soap!

    1. Nicola Adams says:

      Well said Neil!!! I couldn’t agree more.

    2. Tracy Horvath Bazon says:

      I agree! Neil! 5 years is a joke!

  8. Vicki says:

    I wish the horse owners could obtain their own justice by their own hands in whatever manner they deemed appropriate.

  9. Merrie says:

    Anyone who eats horsemeat from a domestic horse is ingesting many different chemicals from wormers, panikillers, tranquilizers, etc that are adminstered regularly to well cared for companion horses. You couldn’t pay me to eat horsemeat obtained from questionable circumstances and anyone that does is a fool…

  10. CHRIS says:


  11. Tony Montana says:

    Poohbear and Cyndy you damn bigoted cowards! Are you so cowardly and can’t stand up for your beliefs that you have to use an alias?

  12. Nicola Adams says:

    Help!?!? He doesn’t need help – he needs his throat slitting in the same way as he tortured those poor defenseless animals. I hope he rots in hell!

  13. Savannah says:

    This whole thing is just sad , this guy diserves to sit in jail for what he did he knew right from wrong. Horses are amazing and beautiful creatures and to think that anyone could do such a thing is heart breaking. I wish he got more time for the crime he commeted but thankfull that he got time! Im sorry for all the people who lost there loving animals too jerks with no heart and dont think before they act Nobody or animal should have to go through that pain. 😦

  14. Christine Bauer says:

    Too little too late. This case should have come to court much more quicly and the penalties should have been a minimum of 10 years. The acts committed were especially heinous. I fear we as a country will have this person in our courts again within a decade. This sentence is too light, too lenient. He will be in prison only long enough to learn how to be a more succesful criminal but not long enough to understand his own depraved indifference.

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