Published: Sep 08, 2010 4:29 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 08, 2010 1:30 PM EDT

MIAMI (AP) - Two South Florida youths accused of slaughtering horses have until Oct. 15 to decide if they'll accept a plea agreement or take the case to trial.

Twenty-year-old Santiago Cabrera and 19-year-old Luis Cordero face several felony charges, including armed burglary, grand theft and killing a registered breed horse. They face life imprisonment if they fight the charges and lose, or 5 years in prison under the plea agreement offered Tuesday.

Prosecutors say they broke into two farms last summer, slit the throats of two horses and hacked off the animals' flesh while they were still alive.

Several animal activists gathered outside the courthouse Tuesday called for stiff sentences, The Miami Herald reported.

Horse meat is illegal to sell, but authorities believe there's a thriving black market.