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Miami Bodybuilders Accused of Starving Horses

Posted on October 26, 2015 6:00 PM EST

Two bodybuilders have been charged with animal abuse after starving horses with skeletal frames were found on the couple's ranch in southern Miami-Dade, according to NBC 6 News.

In NBC's article, the husband-and-wife are pictured with one of the horses on a modeling shoot. The picture shows the costumed pair and the horse standing on a beach, with the couple brandishing swords and the horse looking vibrant and well-fed.

In the next picture the same horse stands in a stall, grossly emaciated and virtually unrecognizable.

The bodybuilders, M. Cowan, 50, and her husband, A. Paez, 48, are facing the music. Cowan was arraigned on Friday on four counts of animal abuse, and Paez was previously arrested on similar charges.

In an article in the Miami Herald published on Friday, Paez's defense lawyer said that his client's new charges are "no big deal."

Paez's attorney went on to say that he wishes the police would spend more time on human victims and child victims, as opposed to horses who skipped a meal.

Despite the defense's argument, the images of the horses paints a picture of starving animals who've missed "many meals."

In May, Miami-Dade Agricultural Patrol seized three horses from Paez's ranch, turning them over to the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SFSPCA).

According to the SFSPCA, officials found the horses in a severely emaciated condition and with overgrown hooves that had not been trimmed in at least 12 months, which made it difficult for the horses to walk without tripping.

Cruelty to Animals Under Florida Law

In Florida, cruelty to animals is covered under Sec. 828.12(1) of the Florida Statutes. Under this Section, a person that deprives an animal of necessary sustenance or shelter, or unnecessarily mutilates or kills an animal is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to one year in prison, or a fine not to exceed $5,000, or both.

Under Section 828.12 (2), anyone who commits an act upon any animal, or someone who has custody or control of an animal and fails to act, which results in excessive and repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, commits aggravated animal cruelty, a felony of the third degree, punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000, or up to five years in prison, or both.

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