By Joan Murray

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Nearly a dozen horses were found abandoned and starving in various southwest Miami-Dade County fields.

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Miami-Dade Agricultural patrols spotted the horses during routine welfare checks.

About 11 horses were found to be malnourished in just a week of check ups on various properties in the area, according to officials with the Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals (South Florida SPCA).

Most of the horses were left on a vacant property with little to eat or drink.

“I believe most of these animals have been abandoned. The one barn where four horses were taken from the property manager said ‘yes, these animals have been abandoned there and he just put them out in a field,'” said SPCA Ranch Director Laurie Waggoner.

She went on, “You know he gave them a little bit of food but obviously not enough to keep them in good condition,” said Waggoner.

Waggoner said when they do come across an owner, they’ll arrest and charge them criminally but in the case of the horses who were abandoned there isn’t anybody to prosecute.

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Three horses turned in to the SPCA Saturday were found to be malnourished.  A veterinarian vaccinated the three newest horses. She said it will take months to bring them back to good health but it can be done.

“It’ll take a few months for sure, a few months for any of these to get to any normal condition and from then on, they just fill in. They’re very skinny and they just need to eat,” said Veterinarian Carla Munoz.

Another horse brought in last week was in such poor health it had to be put down, said officials with the South Florida SPCA.

While those abandoned horses  were discovered on a routine patrol, many others are out of sight and facing starvation.

Doctor Munoz said anyone could mean the difference between life and death.

“Don’t be afraid to tell someone. Do something. Could you go without water or food? These horses go a lot longer,” said Munoz.

Anyone wanting to report abuse, neglect or abandonment of horses and other large livestock animals in Miami-Dade County can call 9-1-1 for emergency situations or (305) -4- POLICE for non-emergency instances.

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