Jail Sentence Expected to Buoy Horse Slaughter Fight

By as published on Off Track Thoroughbreds

“Way to go ‘Kudo”, keep up the good fight, we love ya man!” ~ R.T.

“This is the first time in the history of the state (Florida) that … a person has been sentenced to prison for torturing animals,”

Richard Couto, founder of the Animal Recovery Mission, helped convict a Florida man to a 1-year jail term for animal cruelty this week. Couto spent six months gathering evidence to help bring the conviction.

Richard Couto, founder of the Animal Recovery Mission, helped convict a Florida man to a 1-year jail term for animal cruelty this week. Couto spent six months gathering evidence to help bring the conviction.

An animal advocacy group seeking to shut down illegal horse slaughterhouses and other illegal butcheries received a shot in the arm this week when a Florida rancher, targeted in an undercover sting, was sentenced to a year in jail.

Following the sentencing of Jorge Luis Garcia, 48, of Ranchos Garcia Farm to a year behind bars without possibility of probation, animal-rights activist Richard “Kudo” Couto declared the sentence a “groundbreaking” decision, one that should help other prosecution efforts of illegal slaughterhouses.

“We’ve investigated 137 cases, but this is the first one involving the treatment of farm animals that has gone to trial,” says Couto, founder and president of the Animal Recovery Mission (ARM). Prior to Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer’s sentencing of Garcia to 364 days in a county jail on Tuesday, the Animal Recovery Mission had yet to have one of its cases result in this stiff a sentence, Couto says.

“This is the first time in the history of the state that … a person has been sentenced to prison for torturing animals,” Couto says, noting that Garcia was charged with two misdemeanor counts of torturing goats to death.

The sentencing came months after Couto and other ARM investigators investigated the 4-acre farm in Loxahatchee, which borders the fabled Wellington show grounds.

In October, local and national law enforcement agents who acted on the evidence amassed by Couto and ARM investigators shut down Rancho Garcia Farm in a large-scale sting. Rancho Garcia, along with the G.A. Paso Fino and Medina farms, was shut down, and arrests were made. Please see an earlier article: http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2015/10/16/cuoto-illegal-butchers-killed-show-horses-too/.

Although Couto suspected horses were slaughtered on the farm, and law enforcement recovered horsemeat from farm freezers, no remains of horses were found. And this particular case centered on the treatment of livestock instead, he says.

Noting that he was both surprised and thrilled by the sentence, Couto says the decision establishes case law, which can be used going forward to prosecute other slaughterhouses. “We have several investigations going on right now, and when we conclude them, we’ll use this sentence to show prosecutors that cases against animals can result in jail time,” he says.

Couto is a retired real estate agent who devoted his life, beginning in 2008, to saving horses and investigating illegal slaughterhouses. While volunteering with the South Florida SPCA, Couto helped rescue off-track Thoroughbred Freedom’s Flight from the knife blade of a backyard butcher. The flashy chestnut was tethered tightly to a tree awaiting his death when he was rescued by the Miami-Dade Police. After that incident, Couto adopted the gelding and made it his mission to shut down slaughterhouses. Please see earlier story: http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2015/04/08/liberated-from-illegal-butcher-a-horse-inspires-2/.

After documenting the activities taking place for years in backyard butchers and illegal slaughterhouses, Couto says the sentence this week renews his faith that slaughterhouses will eventually be shut down in Florida.

“Cases involving farm animals are usually overlooked,” Couto told the SunSentinel newspaper. “This is an extremely important case that will help us with our investigations moving forward.”

http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2016/04/28/jail-sentence-expected-to-buoy-slaughter-fight/

9 comments on “Jail Sentence Expected to Buoy Horse Slaughter Fight

  1. Mr. Cudo gets a standing ovation from me. Thank you.
    PS A hundred years in prison would not be enough punishment for scum-bags like this Jorge Luis Garcia guy.

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  2. Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!!!!!! From all of us believers in justice & punishment for the crime. & especially from “THE INNOCENT HORSES”…. who have no voice!!!!! VICTORY, thanks to your devotion & dedication!!

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  3. I think after this happening there will be a lot more convictions for this cruelty. Its been a long time coming but finally it clicked with a judge. Mr.Couto is a true hero for the horses as well as other animals that these scumbags make money off of . If the killers start going to jail they might think twice about getting into the business at all. Most of the illegal slaughter has taken place at so called ranches well hidden around Florida that’s why it seems to take so long to build up a case against any of them. They have to be found first but most of the townspeople know exactly where they are but they aren’t talking especially to the police.

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  4. We ” As lovers of horses” thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I hope now more scum bags will be prosecuted. It’s a good start. Now if we can get the kill pens and slaughter houses shut down we can all sleep a little better at night! Keep up the good work and know we stand behind you 100%.

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  5. Thank you so much for your devotion to saving animals.   Susan 

    Sent via the Samsung Galaxy Tab® 4, an AT&T 4G LTE tablet

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  6. It is amazing of how much work you put before the judge, it is better then nothing, that’s our court system for you. Thank You for all your time, hard work in behalf of the animals. We need more men like you.

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