DAVIE (CBSMiami) – Animal rights advocates were back at a Davie farm Thursday to check on animals they described as “malnourished”.READ MORE: New FBI report finds active shooter attacks on the rise
Richard Couto with the Animal Rescue Mission (ARM) said roughly twenty animals including ponies, goats, chickens and pigs had not been fed or given water in some time.
Davie Police responded to the property on SW 39 Street and 73 Avenue Wednesday after getting reports the animals had been neglected or abused.
“Our detectives responded out here and found various farm animals and some guinea pigs and rabbits that hadn’t been fed in a while,” said Sgt. Pablo Castaneda with the Davie Police Department.
Investigators said the owner of the animals was cooperative.
By Thursday afternoon, police said it was not clear if any charges would be filed.
“I don’t abuse my animals. I love my animals. I care about my animals,” said the owner of the animals in a phone conversation with CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana. He said he pays people to feed the animals and that he passes by the property once or twice a week to check on them.
“Most of the animals didn’t have water…little to no food,” said Richard Couto with the Animal Rescue Mission.MDPD: Miami Beach Senior High Teacher Arrested For Engaging In Child Pornography
According to investigators, the owner of the animals leases them out for petting zoos and for pony rides.
“Some of the animals have not been wormed. They have parasites. There’s long-term effect from abuse on this property,” said Couto.
He said some of the animals look like “skin and bones.”
The ribs of one of the ponies were clearly evident during a tour of the property Thursday.
“On a weekly basis, children are riding this pony,” Couto said. “Forced to work… This pony should have retired years ago.”
Couto said he was waiting to see whether the owner would be cited or if the animals will be seized.
The owner of the property, Walter Mears, said he leases a large section to the person who owns the animals. The property owner does not think the owner of the animals is guilty of abuse.
“He’s always been very good with them. He’s always taking care of them and as far as I could tell, I’ve never seen no problem with them,” said Mears.MORE NEWS: Texas school shooting once again raising safety concerns across South Florida
The owner of the animals said they get “the proper amount of food” and that he is working with his veterinarian to determine what might be causing their weight loss.