On July 3, 2019, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office received a call for service regarding possible animal cruelty/neglect. Members of the Agricultural Crimes Unit were dispatched to the 21000 block of Edwards Drive, just west of Joel Boulevard, in Alva. The complainant expressed concerns about a malnourished horse on a nearby property.
A Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputy located the Paint Mare, a white and brown horse showing signs of malnutrition. Using the Henneke Body Condition Scoring System, which is based upon a visual observation and a manual examination of fat cover over the six major points of the horse, the animal was deemed to be in distress. The scale rates horses from one to nine, one being gaunt and skeletal and nine reflecting obesity. The horse was scored at 2.5.
Additionally, the horse had sores and cuts on the back of the horse’s rear legs. A fresh wound on the left side of the horse’s head bled and was infested with flies. The horse’s hooves were overgrown and cracking and a scar was apparent on the horse’s neck.
The owner of the horse, Jose Antonio Gamez Azcanio (DOB 02-04-1948), was located and interviewed. Based on a thorough investigation, which included gathering information from the horse’s previous owner, Gamez Azcanio was arrested and charged with violations of Florida Statutes 826.12(1) (Torment/Deprive/Mutilate/Kill an Animal and 588.24 (Permit Livestock to Run at Large or Stray).
“I want to be crystal clear,” stated Sheriff Carmine Marceno. “There will be zero-tolerance for ANY abuse in Lee County. If you abuse an animal, we will find you and put you behind bars where you belong.”
The horse is currently at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office impound yard receiving veterinary care. Gamez Azcanio is in LCSO custody.