Crime

Bodybuilding Couple Accused Of Starving And Abusing Horses

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Milagros Cowan, 50, and  Alex Paez, 48.Milagros Cowan, 50, and  Alex Paez, 48.

Milagros Cowan, 50, and  Alex Paez, 48, a bodybuilding couple from Florida, are undoubtedly in great shape, but three horses at their ranch in South Miami-Dade weren’t when investigators showed up in May.

The horses were allegedly malnourished and their hooves were so severely overgrown it was  difficult for them to walk, the Miami Herald reported. “Flammable items were at the facility, along with old boats and trailers, outboard engines, buckets of paint, fiberglass material, cutting objects, garbage,” animal-rights volunteers said in May. “There was absolutely no place to turn out the horses.”

On Oct. 23, Cowan was arraigned on four misdemeanor counts of animal abuse. Paez is facing the same charges and is due in court for trial in December. 

Cowan told investigators the horses were "a little thin and just needed to be dewormed,” NY Daily News reported.

This isn’t the first time the couple has faced horse-abuse charges. Four years ago, they were facing similar charges but they were waived after they finished a “pre-trial intervention” program for first-time offenders. Photos of the horses in 2014 show that at least one of the horses appeared healthy. When the horse was seized, its ribs were protruding.

Paez’s lawyer, Alexander Michaels, was nonchalant about the charges and said they “were no big deal.” 

“I wish the police would spend more time on human victims, and child victims, than on horses who skipped a meal,” Michaels said.

The horses are now in the care of Laurie Waggoner of the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “They’re doing well. They’ve gained a lot of weight,” Waggoner said.  “They’re friendly now. Before, you couldn’t touch them. They were completely wild.”

Sources: NY Daily News, Miami Herald / Photo credit: South Florida SPCA via NY Daily News