Horse butchers beware: You're being watched.
A concerned crowd of over 100 came out in Davie last night to kick off the new "Barn Watch" program and up the ante against the people responsible for slaughtering 19 horses throughout South Florida.
"This is to tell the perpetrators: Don't mess with us. We are going to protect ourselves, we're gonna protect our animals and we are going to be on the watch for you," Davie mayor Judy Paul told the crowd.
New "Barn Watch" signs were unveiled as the town hopes to catch whoever is responsible for the killings, with some residents prepared for vigilante justice.
"They come from the lowest ebb of society, they don't have any of our civilized notions. And I think everybody is aware of that," said Southwest Ranches resident Maryann Allen. "Thank God for my six gun, I'd shoot em."
Meeting attendees applauded as residents like Allen voiced their frustrations over the killings, which have been going on for months.
Police believe most of the horses have been killed for their meat, which is possibly being sold on the black market. Owners have awoken to find the lifeless horse carcasses carved up, limbs chopped off, and hunks of meat missing.
"Thus far we have not had the sort of problem that they are experiencing down in Dade County," said Davie Police Chief Patrick Lynn. "And that's the intent of this meeting tonight, to try to prevent that. And to try to raise awareness and increase vigilance."
The Miami-Dade Police Department has four detectives working on the case, they said.
Before last night, over $10,000 in rewards were being offered for information leading to any arrests.
But at last night's meeting, several citizens opened up their wallets to donate to the reward, and State Fish and Wildlife Commissioner and Davie icon Ron Bergeron added an additional $10,000 reward of his own.
And Dr. Robert Oller upped it another $2,000.
"We feel threatened by what's going on in this community and in communities next to us and I think as a community we need to rise together to show the perpetrators of these crimes that we're not going to stand for it," Oller said.