Horse News

Second FL Horse Stolen and Slaughtered

By as published on The Herald-Tribune

“This wasn’t some horse on a farm,…This was someone’s pet.”

Thunder was stolen from his home in South Florida over the past weekend and slaughtered for his meat, according to a story in the Miami Herald. (Provided by Miami-Dade Police Department)

Thunder was stolen from his home in South Florida over the past weekend and slaughtered for his meat, according to a story in the Miami Herald. (Provided by Miami-Dade Police Department)

SARASOTA, FL — The second slaughter of a horse in less than a month has only strengthened the resolve of Florida horse owners to protect their farms from rustlers.

Thunder, a 23-year-old bay gelding, was stolen from Sandra and Jeffrey Fobb’s Homestead property in Homestead and found butchered Monday night, Miami-Dade Detective Marjorie Eloi told the Miami Herald. Thieves killed the horse for meat, Eloi said.

“This wasn’t some horse on a farm,” the detective told the Herald. “This was someone’s pet.”

Thunder disappeared sometime between 8 p.m. Saturday and 7:45 a.m. Sunday. Police say the fence was damaged on the east side of the property and fresh tire tracks were found nearby.

“How do you have comfort in an area where people don’t have any care for people’s pets?” Jeffrey Fob said. “It’s sad.”

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dave Bristow said his agency is aware of the Homestead slaughter case, but isn’t sure if the incident is connected to the similar death of a champion show horse at Imperial farms in Palmetto.

The 12-year-old chestnut gelding, Phedras de Blondel, which had been recently purchased by Debbie Stephens of Imperial Farms, was taken from its stall and butchered in a nearby stable on the property in the 10000 block of Gillett Road in Parrish.

According to websites about equestrian competitions, the horse was a Grand Prix winner in Europe and being prepared to compete in the U.S.

Bristow said there are no suspects in the Palmetto case.

“We’re still investigating,” he said. “No arrests have been made. We are still looking at (the case) but at this point it is still an active investigation.

“We still need help from the public.”

More than 391 donations have been made to a reward fund at, totaling $52,715, in the last 29 days. An update on the site says $30,000 will be set aside, “to help bring justice for Phedras de Blondel’s death.”

The rest of the funds will go to the a non-profit foundation called “The Phedras Fund,” created to “eradicate” the theft and slaughter of horses for human consumption, according to the Centennial Equestrian Reward Fund page on

Banding together

A close-knit horse community is determined to deter thieves with added security and neighborhood watch, said local dressage training and horse riding instructor Karen Abbattista.

“We are just banding together and being neighborly,” said Abbattista, who is a U.S. Dressage Federation silver and bronze medalist recipient. “That’s really all you can do.”

Some local farms such as Fox Lea have installed state of the art security systems to combat bandits who may try to take their horses.

But Abbattista said neighbors in rural communities whose farms are not as well protected need to start reaching out to each other.

“I’m lucky enough to live in an equestrian community and we look out for one another,” she said. “We are all aware of the dangers posed that have come up from the recent incidents.

“We are a pretty close-knit community. We do look out for each other. We are in it for the horses and we love the horses. Nobody wants anything to happen to them.”

Legislative action

Meanwhile, legislative action already was underway even before the most recent horse slaughtering cases.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, is one of the lead sponsors of the Safeguard American Food Exports Act, a proposed law introduced in April that would permanently ban the killing of horses for human consumption in America.

The law also would bans the export of live horses to Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses, where animals are killed and shipped overseas.

“The theft and slaughter of horses in Homestead and Parrish is a sickening crime that should not go unpunished,” Buchanan said. “As the sponsor of federal legislation aimed at ending the slaughter of horses for human consumption, I have worked closely with the Humane Society to protect these iconic animals from abuse.”

More than 150,000 American horses were butchered in Canada and Mexico and transported to Japan, Italy and other countries, the majority of them healthy animals.

The SAFE Act is supported by the Humane Society of the United States, and the lead sponsors are Buchanan, Reps. Frank Guinta, R-New Hampshire; Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois; and Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-New Mexico. The bill has 179 sponsors in the House, and 28 Senators have vowed to support legislation.

Florida passed legislation in 2010 that toughened the state’s restrictions on the sale of horse meat. New Jersey is the latest state to outlaw the slaughter of horses…(CONTINUED)

For the Rest of the Story:

17 replies »

  1. Something needs to be done. Normally I am all for cultural tolerance, but enough is enough. Horse theft has been a problem in Florida for years because the people of Hispanic descent there have a taste for horsemeat. Horse slaughter and the sale of horsemeat for human consumption is illegal in the US. So, they open illegal slaughter houses (two of which have been raided, but are now basically reopened). These people come by horses any way that they can — even posing as good hearted adopters to get people to turn their horses over. They have never been troubled by horse theft either. As for those who buy the meat, how stupid can they be? Most stabled horses are regularly given drugs and medications that are highly toxic to humans. Hope they choke on the meat. So sorry for the people in Florida who are dealing with this horror.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Someone knows who did this, they need to speak up! Maybe a large reward will do it, if they are more int’d in money than doing the right thing. Everyone NEEDS to do more, and by that I mean CONTACT YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, DEMAND that the SAFE Act which has been introduced in EVERY session for years must be passed! Demand that something has to be done to protect America’s wild horses. Polls say Americans care about horses, but more action (NOT just saying how terrible things are) is NEEDED by each of us, why? to counter ALL the lobbying by ranchers, livestock industry and others who DO NOT WANT THIS BILL PASSED! So far these jerks are winning! It constantly amazes me how little many Americans actually KNOW about their own legislators and how they actually vote – you can actually SEND a letter to both Senators and U.S.Rep by going to (click on TAKE ACTION)- this is a website maintained by The Animal Welfare I Institute, which not only LISTS all animal-related bills, including The SAFE Act, but also TRACKS how your members have voted on bills, this can a real eye opener for some people. I happen to live in TX, where the MAJORITY of U.S. Reps and BOTH Senators are PRO-SLAUGHTER and consistently vote against any bills to help animals. Sen Cornyn even OWNS horses and has the gall to campaign on horseback!! It is nothing short of SHAMEFUL that in this country too few are speaking up to help this icon — so IF you are someone who claims they care, then SPEAK UP AND OFTEN! Remind those in Washington who YOU elected, that you DO vote and you will be watching to see HOW they vote on issues you care about!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I use the compassion index frequently. It was there that I learned my latest Congressman, Juan Vargas, has not voted for one single animal welfare bill. I remind him of his ZERO rating frequently.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Knowing that Tom Davis, a rancher who has been for years getting away with taking wild horses for slaughter,was paid $140,000 of taxpayer $$ to transport 1,800 wild horses to slaughter and THEN profited by receiving $150,000 should make EVERY person who cares mad as hell! I am grateful to Vern Buchanan for not only sponsoring The SAFE ACT, but also demanding a response from Sally Jewell, Dept of the Interior (who oversees the BLM) as to why no action by prosecutors was taken against him. HOW can this be allowed and sanctioned? Another critical reason laws must be changed, and fast!! How many more horses will be rounded up by the BLM, and if not shoved into holding pens to live in miserable conditions (paid for by taxpayers) OR shipped to Mex and Canada to be horribly slaughtered?????!!! Ask about this in your online form letter (there is a place for you to include your own comments. And also those who are pro-slaughter are directly violating the law passed, unanimously passed by that Congress, entitled the Wild horse & Burro Free Roaming Act of 1971, which provided protection for these animals. Get mad, get involved!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think, with Buchanan pressing Jewell for answers, that this is a good time to become extremely active in contacting our legislators and demanding that they too press for the same answers. Let them know that BLM must be held responsible for their criminal actions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree, as the blm has been getting away with murder for too long. The people who are ignorant to eat horses meat, it will some day bite them in the ass. With all the drugs given to these horses, well, that speaks for it’s self.


  4. These heartless criminals were most likely just emboldened by the sickening plea deal that was handed out to those that Richard Couto recently helped investigate. Shame on the judicial system. Those men should have been handed extremely severe sentences to make a point. The authorities allowed these illegal slaughterhouses to exist, undisturbed, for years. There should be constant raids with the most severe sentences handed down.
    When I read about the theft of Thunder and then saw the area my heart sank. I cannot imagine the grief this family must be in. It’s painful enough to lose a good friend but, to know that this is the manner in which they left this world would haunt me forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a disaster. Our beloved family members stolen and butchered for meat in Japan. Japan need to think of what they are doing by importing horsemeat from the USA. The BLM is also a disgusting agency that needs dismantling. And Davis, who transported over 1,800 horses to slaughter needs to be punished the maximum for animal cruelty. The helicopter companies furnishing helicopter to chase our wild horses in roundups need to be punished and fired from doing this. The U.S. citizen owns these ranges and all the wild horses, donkeys, and burros on these lands and we DEMAND IT STOP AND A REPLACEMENT AGENCY BE ESTABLISHED TO REPLACE THE BLM WITH ANIMAL LOVING PEOPLE IN CHARGE. AND, THE RANCHERS SHOULD BE TOLD TO GET THEIR D__ CATTLE OFF OUR RANGES. IF THEY CAN’T AFFORD TO LEASE MORE LAND THAN THEY OWN, THEN DEAL WITH IT, BUT GET OFF OUR U.S. CITIZEN OWNED RANGES AND ALL OUR WILD ANIMALS NEED TO BE RETURNED TO THEIR HOME RANGES WITH THEIR FAMILIES TO LIVE AND ROAM TOGETHER AS MET TO BE.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There must also be private property trespass laws that are being violated, in addition to stolen property. It seems that would be incentive for local law enforcement to step up investigations. Is there a City Council? This needs to be on the Community Action priority list.

    The 2015 Florida Statutes
    Title XLVI
    CRIMES Chapter 810
    810.09 Trespass on property other than structure or conveyance.—

    Liked by 1 person

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