BEVERLY HILLS, Fla. — The Citrus County Sheriff's Office is encouraging horse owners to be cautious in the wake of several attacks on horses in surrounding counties. A Facebook post dated January 9 states the animals "were found dead, slaughtered, or butchered for meat" during the past couple of months.

  • Sheriff's Office urges horse owners to be cautious
  • Authorities say horses have been killed for their meat
  • Homeowners taking extra security measures

"Total disgust -- just total disgust," said county resident and horse owner Vicki Anderson about her reaction to the news. "There's so many things that go on in this world, but to take someone's pet and butcher it needlessly, for money -- it's disgusting."

The post goes on to say, "It is unknown where the meat is ending up at this time, however through our investigations, it seems this type of activity is on the rise."

According to CCSO Community Relations Specialist Jodi Sanders, there have been no reported cases in Citrus County. Deputies are performing precautionary patrols, collecting intelligence from surrounding agencies, and alerting the public through social media to help prevent local incidents.

"Unfortunately, horse meat is a delicacy, and this has been going on for years," said Gail Pridgen, president of one Citrus community's equestrian association. Pridgen recommends horse owners consider investing in security measures like surveillance cameras, and strong fences and locks.

"Have your horses close, watch them, check them often because this is becoming more and more prevalent, very sad to say," said Pridgen.

"I am concerned. I love my horses, and as I hear the news of people killing horses for meat, it scares me," said owner Sherri Parker.

Parker, Pridgen, and Anderson all said they've had security in place for some time but plan to increase that following the warning. All said vigilance is key.

"We look out for each other. We're a strong community," said Parker. "If there's someone coming by, just saying, 'I just want to pet your horse', I'm not comfortable with that. We don't know what they're here for," Parker said.

The Sheriff's Office encourages community members to report any suspicious activity to its non-emergency line, (352) 726-1121.