South Florida SPCA, police begin operation to move emaciated Sunrise cows for treatment

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A major operation to move multiple emaciated cows from a Sunrise property has begun, as animal rescuers and police officers work to save them.

Members of the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Sunrise Police corralled livestock on Tuesday, days after a woman driving by spotted the animals in rough shape. Some of the cows were also dead.

“That could have been prevented,” a woman said. “They’re out in the open. There’s burnt grass. There’s nothing there.”

The cows have been struggling to live on a fenced-in property in the area of Hiatus Road and 44th Street.

Crews used horses and lassos to guide the cows to a pen before they are moved to a farm for treatment.

“Most of the cows are in pretty poor shape,” South Florida SPCA spokesperson Laurie Waggoner said. “They’ll get medical attention, veterinary attention. They’ll be de-wormed. They’ll be vaccinated.”

Officials said the property owner is cooperating with police in their investigation, but the cows’ owner, 32-year-old Rafael Antonio Guevara, was arrested last week. He has also been charged with counts related to animal cruelty for another case in Miami-Dade County.

According to the SPCA, five of the nearly three dozen cows on the property have been rescued so far, and they will return on Wednesday to rescue the rest of the animals.

“Anytime you see a cow as skinny as some of these guys are, I’m always shocked,” Waggoner said.

The South Florida SPCA added once a court gives them custody of the animals, all of the cows will be sent to a sanctuary outside of Gainesville.

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