Horse in Golden Gate Estates slaughtered for his meat, $12.5K reward for info offered

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office is searching for the person or persons who butchered a horse in Golden Gate Estates.

“Whip,” the Doria family’s prized competitive rodeo horse, was slaughtered, his meat extracted and remains left behind.

Mike Doria said someone cut his back fence, led the horse next door, tied him to a tree and skinned him. His young son, Tilton, discovered what remained.

“You just don’t expect something like this to happen, someone to come in and slaughter your horse…it’s just unexpected. It’s really sick,” said Jaime Doria. “I came out here to feed the horses, and I said, ‘One is missing.'”

So Tilton went looking along the property line with his sister and saw that someone had broken a section of the fence.

“I found him lying there, dead,” he said. “We both started crying. They think, ‘Oh, it’s just an animal, it’s just a pet.’ No, it’s a family member.”

Both kids ran back to the house to tell their parents. Jamie said her pain runs deep, and so does her anger.

“It’s almost like one of my children dying,” she said. “It’s just bizarre. It’s very heart-shattering.”

Deputies were called to a pasture off Immokalee Road Friday around 7:58 a.m. after the remains of the horse were found.

They say someone had entered the pasture sometime between midnight and 5 a.m. It appears the suspect or suspects were after the horse’s meat, based upon the remains at the scene.

The family is offering a $12,500 reward for any information on who slaughtered the Red Roan gelding. They say they’ll also be installing security cameras. Until then, they’re moving their remaining three horses someplace safer.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

Other horse owners in the area are worried this could happen to one of their horses. One family we spoke to said, after this tragedy, they’re already taking precautions by putting motion sensor cameras up, so they can keep a better eye on their animals.

I was in complete shock, honestly. The fact that it’s starting to happen closer and closer to us is definitely very concerning.

CCSO says they are tenaciously investigating this senseless act as their Agriculture Unit and Criminal Investigations Department conducts a full investigation, working with law enforcement officials in other counties.

CCSO Sheriff Kevin Rambosk has directed extra patrols in areas where residents have horses and are sharing the following safety tips:

  • If you have security systems, check to see that they are operational and can record images
  • Make sure pasture, paddock and barn areas are well fortified to keep animals safely inside and intruders out
  • Network with your neighbors to watch each other’s property and know what might be suspicious activity in your area
  • Make use of your dogs to alert you, especially at night, of any intruders. With our wildlife population in rural and estates areas, dogs are less vulnerable to becoming prey than are fowl or other animals that make a lot of noise when disturbed
  • Report any suspicious activity immediately to 911 or 239-252-9300.

Deputies ask anyone with information to call CCSO at 239-252-9300 or 239-775-8477. To remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward, call Crime Stoppers at 1.800.780.TIPS (8411).

Reporter:Taylor Smith
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