Miami-Dade, Florida, authorities are probing the death of a horse found slaughtered earlier this week.

Detective Robin Pinkard, of the Miami-Dade Police Department’s public information section, said department personnel responded to call from an owner who’d found his horse slaughtered in his Hialeah, Florida, barn when he went to feed the animal on Jan. 7.

Police documents state that the gray gelding was found tethered to a pole. The horse had been gutted and the meat portions of the carcass removed, the documents said..

The incident is the latest in a string of horse butchering in Florida that began in 2009. Since then, more than 50 horses have been butchered for their meat in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. In 2010, Florida lawmakers passed legislation making it illegal to for anyone to slaughter a horse to obtain its meat and, in 2012, the town of Southwest Ranches enacted an ordinance that levies steep fines and other penalties on anyone who slaughters a horse for human consumption in that town.

Despite law enforcement attention to horse butcherings, authorities are not always made aware of such incidents, said Laurie Waggoner, ranch director and horse cruelty investigator for the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“Not only do people not always report the butcherings, but they don’t always report it when their horse has gone missing," she said.

As a result, apprehending illegal horse butchers is difficult, she said.

“You almost have to catch people in the act,” Waggoner said.

Pinkard said police interviewed neighbors about the Hia