More than 20 horses rescued from illegal slaughter farm in S. Florida

Did you see this?

BELL, Fla. (WCJB) — Over 20 horses have been rescued from an illegal slaughtering farm in South Florida by a local rescue operation.

According to the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, a complaint saying a horse was quote “in distress” and couldn’t get up as well as buzzards and horse bones scattered across the ground had led to deputies investigating the property owned by the suspect Manuel Coto.

There they found 24 horses, one of which was the horse that led to the initial complaint which had to be euthanized on-site.

All of the horses were malnourished and showed signs of having some type of parasite.

After being cared for by the deputies for over a month, they were signed over to Horses Without Humans in Bell.

They say that while they are happy and ready to take these horses in, their work is far from over.

“Our process here is going to be pretty big because we’ve got to separate them one at a time, and get a hand on them, try to get them haltered . . . so we can have a safe and happy place,” said Yvonne Barteau, the founder of Horses Without Humans. “So the work is really just starting here.”

While the investigation is ongoing, the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office says they will “continue to pursue charges and proceedings against the person(s) responsible for this abuse.”

Can you help?

Barteau says that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are short on volunteers that they’ll need to get these horses back to full health.

“We’re probably going to need an average of one to two volunteers per horse to get this working out and to get these horses socialized,” Barteau explained. “We don’t mind if the volunteers don’t come near us, they just have to be willing to come and be around a horse or help in feeding, caring, and helping the horses get used to being around people and that they bring food…and that people can talk to them and pet them. So we’re hoping that volunteers pick-up a bit.”

To learn more about how to volunteer, contact, or donate to Horses Without Humans, click here to go to their website.

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Sumter Co police increase reward on horse thieves and slaughterers

Florida horse owners warned to be cautious as horses continue to be stolen and slaughtered for the black market.

A Zephyrhills, Florida woman says three intruders tried to slaughter her horses for their meat earlier this month.

Brena Kramer showed FOX 13 News a few of the injuries sustained by her horses, including cuts near their eyes and rope burns near their mouths. She says she found one horse with a rope still tied around its neck.

Kramer says she’s not surprised, but she wants to warn other horse owners in the area.

It is common down south, it’s something most horse owners know about, especially in Florida,” Kramer said. “They will bleed them out and start butchering while the horse is bleeding.

Recent horse slaughter cases in Manatee, Marion, and Sumter counties have left owners on edge. 

The reward for information leading to an arrest/conviction in a horse slaughter case in Sumter County has been increased.

Sumter County Sheriff’s detectives are continuing to pursue leads in the investigation of a horse being taken from the Sumterville area last year. They are asking anyone with information about the case to contact the sheriff’s office at (352) 793-2621. To remain anonymous and be eligible for the reward of up to $5,000, those with information can contact Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).

In December, law enforcement officials from throughout the Central Florida area issued warnings about an outbreak of horse slaughter cases. Sheriff’s detectives from Sumter, Marion and Manatee counties were investigating crimes in their jurisdictions and it was believed that the horses were being harvested for meat in Palmetto.

Earlier this month, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded to social media posts claiming that horses had been slaughtered in the Sorrento area. Sheriff’s officials said they hadn’t responded to any calls for service in that area in reference to the killing of animals.

But they did confirm responding to a complaint of a suspicious vehicle in the Sorrento area that fit the description of a vehicle seen in another county where horses were slaughtered. They patrolled the area extensively but didn’t locate the vehicle or any injured or dead horses.

Horse owners are encouraged to be vigilant in ensuring the safety of their animals. Any suspicious incidents involving property, such as attempts to gain entry or cut fencing, should be reported to law enforcement immediately.

Local consumption

One takes it that the meat culled from stolen horses in Florida is being sold on the local black market. Horse meat is comparatively delicate and has a short shelf life, especially for human consumption. Horse meat produced at slaughter plants intended for human consumption overseas is freeze packed for shipping overseas.

Overseas consumption

Overall, an estimated 1.9 million American horses have been shipped to Mexico and Canada for slaughter since 2001 and there is no U.S. law to stop the practice.

An alarming number of Florida’s former prize-winning horses end up abandoned, starving, neglected and bound for the slaughter in Canada and Mexico, an ABC Action News review found.

We’ve created this cheap meat source for them, said Morgan Silver, executive director of the Horse Protection Association of Florida.

It costs $300 to $500 to have that horse euthanized. It’s going to cost them nothing if they have somebody come pick it up.

We agree. However, if you cannot afford the cost of euthanizing your horse and disposing of his or her remains, you have no business owning one.

Harsh? Perhaps, but we have a plan, and so should all horse owners regardless of status or income.

Insure your horse for a humane end

Buy professional horse mortality insurance or set aside a special bank account (our preferred solution) for the total costs of euthanizing and disposing of your horse’s remains. Don’t have a lump sum for it right now? Make a monthly deposit until you do. Go here to learn more »

Man sought after another horse stolen, slaughtered in Florida

Florida horse owners warned to be cautious as horses continue to be stolen and slaughtered for the black market.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Manatee County deputies have released a new clue in a gruesome case of animal cruelty after a horse was found slaughtered earlier this month.

Investigators over the weekend released surveillance photos of a man wanted for questioning in connection with the Dec. 1 case.

The photos were released days after officials put out a warning to horse owners about an increase in horse deaths across the state, including at least two in Central Florida.

Although no horses have been killed in Lake County, the Sheriff’s Office there said horses found slaughtered in Manatee, Marion and Sumter counties were apparently harvested for their meat in Palmetto, Florida.

“Horse owners should be vigilant in ensuring the safety of their animals. Report ANY suspicious incidents involving your land such as attempts to gain entry or cut fencing to law enforcement immediately,” the Lake County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook.

Tamara Weaver, of Sumter County, said her 10-year-old horse, Jayda, was found killed across the street from where the animal had been boarded. Weaver said the fence had been cut and evidence at the scene suggested whoever was responsible was seeking the horse’s meat.

In November, News 6 spoke with a family in Marion County after their horse was found dead. The family believes their horse was also slaughtered for its meat.

Have you seen this man?

Image of a man captured by surveillance camera is under suspicion of stealing and slaughtering a horse for black market horse meat.
Image of a man captured by surveillance camera is under suspicion of stealing and slaughtering a horse for horse meat blackmarket. Click to visit Facebook page.

Anyone with information about these cases is asked to call local authorities or Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.

Read more, view videos at ClickOrlando News »

Featured Image: Orlando Sentinel.

Fun Horse Facts for Kids

Polk Reading with Rescues Program at at Hope Equine Rescue in Winter Haven, Florida.

Hey, it’s Patsy, back in the saddle here at Tuesday’s Horse.

School is in full swing. How about some horse facts for kids first?

Horse Facts for Kids

• Horses can sleep both lying down and standing up.

• Horses can run shortly after birth.

• Domestic horses have a lifespan of around 25 years.

• A 19th century horse named ‘Old Billy’ is said to have lived 62 years.

• Horses have around 205 bones in their skeleton.

• Horses have been domesticated for over 5000 years.

• Horses are herbivores (plant eaters).

• Horses have bigger eyes than any other mammal that lives on land.

• Because horse’s eyes are on the side of their head they are capable of seeing nearly 360 degrees at one time.

• Horses gallop at around 44 kph (27 mph).

• The fastest recorded sprinting speed of a horse was 88 kph (55 mph).

• Estimates suggest that there are around 60 million horses in the world.

• Scientists believe that horses have evolved over the past 50 million years from much smaller creatures.

• A male horse is called a stallion.

• A female horse is called a mare.

• A young male horse is called a colt.

• A young female horse is called a filly.

• Ponies are small horses.

Source: More about ponies at

Did you know . . . ?

All Thoroughbred racehorses no matter when they foal share the same birthday, January 1st, in the Northern Hemisphere, and August 1st, in the Southern Hemisphere. In the first year of their lives they are referred to as yearlings.

Here is a cool video for children of all ages. I learned some things I’d never heard, and I’ve around horses since I was a wee lassie. Turn the sound down before you hit play. It can be kinda loud.

Next up . . . .

Reading with Rescues

The featured image I chose for this post is from the Polk Reading with Rescues Program at Hope Equine Rescue in Winter Haven, Florida. I wanted so much to tell you about them.

The Hope Equine Rescue is where neglected, abused and simply unwanted horses, ponies, miniature horses and even donkeys are taken into care and rehabilitated, The Ledger of Lakeland, Florida tell us, plus something very special they do there, called Reading with Rescues:

Mary Shields is a saddle fitter by trade, working with show horses and riders, but runs the center’s Reading with Rescues program.

“It teaches the kids multiple things,” Shields said, the sun starting to dip low on the horizon and painting the barns in a golden light. “They learn how to speak in front of a crowd because horses don’t judge if they misspeak or mispronounce a word — they don’t laugh. Moms and dads will come and read with them. It fosters a love of reading for the kids.”

Shields said that last year, one boy had to read the entire U.S. Constitution, so he brought out a copy and read it to one of the rescues.

“Our horses are very educated,” she laughed.

From the Reading with Rescues Program at Hope Equine Rescue in Winter Haven, Florida.

Source: »

Isn’t that the coolest? Be back with you soon. Thank you for stopping by and reading my post. — Patsy