MANATEE COUNTY, Florida – A reward of up to $13,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for stealing and slaughtering a horse during the overnight hours of December 1st and 2nd in the 5800 block of Buckeye Road in Palmetto, Florida.
Surveillance video captured an unidentified male walking up the stables around 11:34 pm on December 1st who is being considered a person of interest at this time by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
“Sometime between 5 p.m. on 12/01/19 and 8 a.m. on 12/02/19, unknown suspects forced entry through the locked gate to the victim’s property and stole her horse,” the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.
“Deputies and the victim searched the surrounding area and later located the horse deceased in a nearby field. The horse had been slaughtered for the meat.”
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is offering a reward of $5000 and Centennial Farms Inc. / Palmetto is also offering a reward of $5000. These rewards are in addition to Crime Stoppers reward money that a person could be eligible to receive.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the Manatee County Sheriff’s at (941) 747-3011, or to remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward of up to $3000, call Manatee Crime Stoppers at 866-634-8477 (TIPS) or visit www.ManateeCrimeStoppers.com to submit an anonymous web tip.
Horses Slaughtered For Meat On The Rise In Florida
Horses slaughtered for the meat is on the rise in Florida. In addition to the recent Manatee County case, a horse was slaughtered in Sumter County last week.
“We are currently investigating an animal cruelty case that involved a horse being stolen and harvested for meat, from the Sumterville area,” the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook.
“Although this is the only incident in Sumter County, through the investigation we have learned it is on the rise throughout the state.”
Although uncommon in the U.S. diet, horse meat is eaten in Latin American and Caribbean countries.
“Horse slaughter in South Florida is tragically common,” said Laurie Waggoner of South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SFSPCA).
The SFSPCA even has a section of its website devoted just to chronicling incidents of horses slaughtered for their meat.
“Florida is home not just to a diverse population — generating demand for horse meat — but also a high concentration of horses,” Waggoner told the Washington Post in an article on another Manatee County horse slaughtered in 2015.