Officials in Southwest Ranches are taking on the South Florida horse slaughter problem with a new measure that would be one of the most stringent equine protection laws in the state.
The Equine Protection Act, named Marco's Law after a racehorse that was found slaughtered in the town in August, would carry strict penalties and incarceration for anyone who willfully kills, maims, mutilates or causes great bodily harm or permanent disability to any horse in the town.
Violators would be subject to a minimum mandatory fine of $5,000 and minimum mandatory period of incarceration. The law will be voted on during the Town Council meeting Thursday night.
Marco, an 8-year-old brown thoroughbred, was reported missing on Aug. 18 by his owner at Just Perfect Landscaping in the 5300 block of Southwest 201th Terrace. His slaughtered remains were found later less than a half mile away in the 5100 block of Southwest 210th Terrace.
Mayor Jeff Nelson, who proposed the new law, requested it be named in Marco's memory so the town would never forget what occurred and so that residents will remain vigilant in protecting its equine community.
"I am doing everything in my power to further protect our equine community and to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice," Nelson said in a statement. "The adoption of this law is intended to place everyone on notice that our Town will aggressively prosecute anyone who even remotely attempts to victimize a horse in our community."