PETA Calls for Jail Time, Ban on Owning Animals if Alleged Horse Abuser Is Convicted

Group Appeals to State Attorney as Miami Resident Faces Charges

For Immediate Release:
December 14, 2015

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Following news that Miami resident Milagros Cowan is facing charges of cruelty to animals in connection with three starving, neglected horses, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”— sent a letter today to authorities calling for jail time as well as a ban on owning or harboring animals if she’s convicted. The horses were reportedly found in May dangerously emaciated and with painfully overgrown hooves on a ranch belonging to Cowan and her husband, Alex Paez, that was cluttered with hazardous debris. They are currently recovering with the Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Paez has reportedly since pleaded guilty to similar charges. Cowan is scheduled appear in court to face these charges this Wednesday, December 16.

“The photographs depicting the appalling neglect of these gentle animals are heartbreaking, and anyone who is capable of causing and ignoring this much suffering should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” says PETA Director Stephanie Bell. “If Cowen is convicted, PETA is calling on authorities to ensure that she never again has the opportunity to deprive an animal of basic care.”

PETA’s letter to Katherine Fernandez Rundle, state attorney of Miami-Dade County, follows.

December 14, 2015

The Honorable Katherine Fernandez Rundle
State Attorney, Miami-Dade County
Miami-Dade Office of the State Attorney
1469 N.W. 13 Terrace
Miami, FL 33125

Dear Ms. Fernandez Rundle,

PETA is an international animal-protection organization with more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands who reside in Florida. This letter concerns a case that your office is handling involving Milagros Cowan, who is reportedly facing charges of cruelty to animals stemming from authorities’ alleged May 2015 discovery of several neglected horses on a ranch belonging to Cowan and her husband, Alex Paez. According to reports, the animals were allegedly found to be emaciated and to have severely overgrown hooves, and they were confined to an area cluttered with dangerous debris. We understand that Paez has pleaded guilty to similar charges and that Cowan is expected to appear in court on her charges on December 16.

If the allegations are accurate, then the suspect’s utter disregard for the welfare of her horses would indicate an unwillingness or inability to meet the basic duties of animal guardianship, a shortcoming that could well carry on into the future. We respectfully ask that if Cowan is convicted, as part of her sentencing and in addition to incarceration, she be prohibited from owning or harboring animals for as long as possible—a common sentencing provision in such cases.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Kristin DeJournett
Cruelty Casework Associate Manager
Cruelty Investigations Department

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind