3 T-breds rescued from illegal butcher

And He's Off is an 11-year-old gelding who was among 10 horses rescued from an illegal butcher in the East Everglades last week.

And He’s Off is an 11-year-old gelding who was among 10 horses rescued from an illegal butcher in the East Everglades last week. Photos by Grace Delanoy

Standing in a yard piled high with the entrails of slaughtered animals, three tattooed Thoroughbreds were among 10 rescued equines pulled from an illegal slaughterhouse on Oct. 6, and led to safety from a remote region of East Everglades Florida.

Horses in various states of deterioration stood terrified in a field where a mountain of innards, enough to fill the beds of several pickups, were covered only with a rug. And where the sounds of slow death came as a butcher’s knife blade sliced the throat of cows and other animals, according to Laurie Waggoner, head of operations at the South Florida SPCA.

“These animals did not have the benefit of a captive bolt (used to stun and knock out an animal) so they were essentially slaughtered alive,” Waggoner says. “Their throats are slit and they’re left to bleed out, hanging between two trees.”

Waggoner and the Miami-Dade Police Department responded to the scene after a neighbor reported two of his cows were stolen. When police arrived and discovered the 10 equines (eight horses and two ponies) they contacted Waggoner, she says.

As the owner was charged with 11 counts of animal cruelty, improper disposal of a carcass and being a sanitary nuisance, Waggoner and assistants gathered up horses, one of whom was so terrified she ran out of the place and onto the rural street before rescuer workers could get a hold of her, Waggoner says.

Tattooed Thoroughbred Flattering Irene was pulled by the South Florida SPCA from an illegal butcher in the East Everglades last week. She was already listed as deceased in Jockey Club information, according to the South Florida SPCA.

Tattooed Thoroughbred Flattering Irene was pulled by the South Florida SPCA from an illegal butcher in the East Everglades last week. She was already listed as deceased in Jockey Club information, according to the South Florida SPCA.

“She ran into fence after fence,” she says. “At one point she went through a cattle chute, which was so low she had to do the Limbo to get through it. She got trapped in it for a little bit, giving us enough time to get a halter on her. Then we finally let her run out onto the road, where we were able to pull a trailer up and get her on.”

It was a disgusting place, the air putrid with the stench of blood and decaying animal parts, with pools of blood on the ground.

Though Waggoner admits she has seen worse conditions than those she waded into in the late afternoon last Monday, she admits she was glad to clip the lead rope to the last horse and get them out of there.

Among the rescued horses were two tattooed Thoroughbreds identified as Flattering Irene, a 5-year-old filly and 11-year-old gelding And He’s Off. A tattooed Thoroughbred stallion not yet identified was also rescued.

This Thoroughbred stallion is tattooed, but not yet identified.

This Thoroughbred stallion is tattooed, but not yet identified.

Flattering Irene, who was discovered in a skeletal condition, continues to build her strength as a mystery around her grows. According to information obtained by Waggoner via the Jockey Club, Flattering Irene was listed as “deceased” in Jockey Club records, she says. “She last raced in February 2012, and is listed as having died in 2014,” Waggoner says.

South Florida SPCA officials have been in touch with Flattering Irene’s original breeder, who has been working to help the rescue secure a possible home for her. And a local horse rescue organization has expressed interest in taking one or all three Thoroughbreds.

The rescued T-bred And He’s Off, a light chestnut is the friendliest of all horses, and is in the best form, Waggoner adds.

With the arrival of 10 equines and six cows also seized from the slaughterhouse, South Florida SPCA is now “bursting at the seams” with rescue animals, says Waggoner, noting that the facility now houses 68 horses and seven cows. Donations may be made to South Florida SPCA via this hyperlink.♦

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35 responses to “3 T-breds rescued from illegal butcher”

  1. Kayla

    The “unknown” stallion is now gelded and is in a loving home he’s the best horse I’ve ever own!

    1. Margaret McFarland

      The unknown stallion, I believe is Urban Tiger. My husband and I are the breeders and just found out about this several days ago. He was a beautiful horse and extremely sweet. He was claimed from us at Gulfstream and we lost sight of him. We are so glad you have him and he has a good home. These butchers must be stopped and put away in jail for a very long time. They are not human.

  2. Irene Lobaido

    These slaughter greedy scum of the earth, will rot in hell! America is a third world country now, with all these foreign cultures bringing their customs and money hungry greed with them!! HANG’EM HIGH!!!

    1. Claire North

      yeah I agree, I am an immigrant, I come from NZ and have been here 20 years. It drives me crazy people come here and flaut the laws, act like nut cases, hurt people and animals, run illegal slaughter farms and basically bring their third world living here….I say if you come here, then adopt US customs and cultures, LEARN THE LANGUAGE!!!!!, assimilate….and be grateful you are away from which ever country you CHOSE to escape from. For me, I come from a beautiful country that is well educated and caring about animals, but I chose to stay here because my husband is American, however I rescue animals, plant trees, I do what I can to make the USA better for me being here…….

  3. Karen Ramos

    Flattering Irene went through extensive rehabilitation at RVR Rescue in Riverside, Florida and has been adopted by a devoted owner. The stallion was identified as Urban Tiger, a very well-bred boy from what I understand. He was gelded and successfully rehabilitated by Hidden Acres Rescue for Thoroughbreds in Port Saint John, Florida. He was also adopted, he still has my heart, what a traumatized soul. The third horse, a beautiful gelding named Dante was also rehabilitated by Hidden Acres was successfully adopted. These three were the lucky ones……it happens on a daily basis in south Florida.

    1. Claire North

      yes it does and we as floridians need to wake up, and do something to stop this illegal butchery

    2. colmel

      Thank you, Karen, for giving us an update on these three.

      Not only does the illegal butchery happen in Florida (and elsewhere), horses are pulled from slaughter pens in Pennsylvania and other states on a daily basis by rescues who are scavenging funds from every possible source. It has to stop. So many organizations are doing their part by lobbying and saving as many as they can. The point is, WE as caring individuals have to stick our necks out. This shouldn’t be breed-specific, either. Equine slaughter shouldn’t happen… period. It shouldn’t matter if it’s someone’s backyard pony or a multi-millionaire (think Exceller and Ferdinand). It’s wrong; and until we as Americans really start making some proactive noise, it will continue to occur.

  4. Judy Tincher

    This was in Oct. 2014, it is Nov 2015… And it is worse in Fla. now than before, It is not lawful to sell horsemeat in the USA, and yet it is being found in our food source! Now it is being put in and unlabeled as such, as the Complete Information of Ingredients Law was not passed, a lot of unlabeled Horsemeat has been found in California, and out west, mixed with beef, sometimes not, Mexico is getting rejected products back from buyers, because all horse meat is tainted!! I also found not long ago that Canada is protesting the semi loads of Horses going into Canada, and are flown out through 2 airports to other countrys!! Canada knows this meat is tainted, they don’t want it, and is ruining their markets also.. So glad Mexico and Canada are slowing down on taking in horses for slaughter, but it is being done still, the job is not done!! out of 40 places out in Calif. and around states they found 28 places that had horsemeat in their products, Aldi Grocery stores here in USA has be found selling it, and it has recently been found in New York being sold, unlabeled, but it is horsemeat, it can cause cancer and other things to people that eat it, it is making our children and people sick and they don’t know why?? This is why, it is being sold like beef, unlabeled and in fast food places have been found to also have been selling it as hamburger also!! So unless you have a butcher you trust, don’t buy meat anywhere!! So many sick children with Cancer?? Do you think it could be of what they ATE?? Of course it could be the cause, and so many people sick and Dr.’s can’t figure out why, IT IS WHAT THEY ARE EATING!!! BEWARE OF WHERE YOU GET YOUR FOOD, AND WHAT YOU ARE EATING, THIS IS ALL CURRENT INFO. NOV 16, 2015!!!

  5. H & H Rescue Ranch, Michigan

    Contact if home is needed.

  6. H & H Rescue Ranch, Michigan

    Please contact me if you can not find GOOD homes for the TB’s. I have already taken in a 4 year old filly. I come with references.

    Thank you,
    Carol Antor

  7. Nancy Watson

    “Times are hard”; that still doesn’t excuse this. I have heard about these illegal butcher shops in south Florida for a couple of years now. Seems like more AC people are needed to put a stop to this.

  8. Kathie Judy

    I would just like to respond to the inquiries about why there are so many illegal slaughter places in South Florida – because there are so many illegals (mostly Hispanic – usually of Mexican or Cuban nationality)here, and Florida has a lot of horses. However, this problem is not strictly relegated to South Florida, as there was an expose done in Summer of 2013 of a large number of illegal slaughter farms which were located smack dab in the middle of the Citrus Park area of Tampa, FL – many, many, many of which were slaughtering horses (mostly Thoroughbreds). And the reason they were able to obtain so many racehorses is because Tampa Bay Downs racetrack is located only a few miles away – so how “convenient” is that? Unfortunately, although Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department was provided clear and convincing evidence and undercover surveillance of both the remains of the carnage, and the cold-hearted and cruel live butchering of these innocent animals, via the individual who conducted the operation,to the best of my knowledge, the only thing that was done was that ONE man was charged with selling horsemeat for human consumption, and received a minimal penalty. As a horse owner in Florida, and who lives not far from these areas, we take every possible precaution to protect our horses from being stolen by these blood-thirsty monsters, but it is still a terrifying thought that we might wake up one day to find them gone.

  9. Teresa Melnick

    I have the same question as a few of the others who have posted here: why are so many of these illegal slaughter places in South Florida? I know there is animal cruelty everywhere, unfortunately, but it seems that so many of the horrific stories on this site are coming out of Florida. Just curious.

  10. cheri vaughan

    I cannot know the identity of the perpetrator… I cannot be reasonably expected to react to the devil in sub human form with restraint.

  11. cheri vaughan

    These precious equine athletes, equines and bovines are likely traumatized for life after narrowly escaping a horrendous death at the hands of a GREASY DEVIL. WHEN WILL IT END??? WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH??

  12. Catherine Adams

    So horrific! Still saddened to know this goes on and so relieved to know the surviving animal’s are safe and that chamber of hell horror has been revealed. If this doesn’t change the laws to enforce harsher penalties for those murdering scumbags, then dear God what is it going to take.

    Blessings to the South Florida SPCA for all that you do.

  13. Matt Bailis

    What a horrorshow. Thanks for providing the donation link, Susan. Just took care of that …

  14. Colmel

    Susan, could we ask you to post the link for helping the South Florida SPCA again? I think that they must need as much financial support as they can get with the numbers of rescues they are supporting. Beyond our rightful indignation and disgust, it should behoove us to help financially if there is any way we can do so. Not only will it help those poor horses already in their loving care, but it will help them to be able to seek out and help more. I shudder to think how many the SPCA is not finding or able to help.

  15. Sandy Carr

    The best and worst of humanity. Thank you Laurie for what you do to help all the animals. I’m retired and wish I had room for one more equine on the place….but will be a cheerleader from afar.

    This gives me serious concern about all horses and their registration associations and record keeping. The “deceased” was merely a prediction for Irene and it almost came to that.

  16. KWebers

    What hell it must be to be a horse owner in south Florida. Year after year we learn of new atrocities there, as monsters steal horses for their black market butchering. I have friends there who are horse owners …. I could not live with that threat, and can’t imagine how they do. What a tragedy that law enforcement fails here.
    May there be some justice done …. as those who consume this unregulated, unsafe species suffer for their greed:

    South Florida equine rescues need our support.

  17. Oneforjoe

    This kind of horrendous behaviour will never end until the law does something about these poor excuses for humans. I can’t imagine the terror these poor animals suffered and the many others that didn’t make it out. Time to crack down please!!!!!!!!!!!! These people are murderer’s

  18. Christina

    Just what the heck is up with Florida and all this illegal, cruel butchering of domestic animals?

    1. Claire North

      Yeah we have a state where we have alot of criminals down in the southern part live in areas like the c-9 basin and run illegal slaughtering operations and everyone turns a blind eye. Richard Couto thank the angels for him too rescues and helps close down these hell holes. many of these people are here illegally and are criminals …..this needs to be something that is shut down, it is disgusting.

  19. Zig Pope

    Makes me wonder how many owners and or trainers purposely hand off their TBs to lowlifes who in turn sells them for meat, and then reports the horses are dead. This should be considered fraud and those involved kicked out of horse racing.

    I am hearing more and more that tbs on the tracks west coast) are being secretly sold direct to kill buyers so the rescues won’t look to the breeders and owners for help in rescuing them.

  20. Michelle Y.

    I completely agree with everything TBDancer said. Just unbelievable that humans, who are supposed to be the stewards of the animals, can be so unfathomably cruel. Yes, God bless Laurie and the staff at South Florida SPCA. I will head over to their site to donate what I can.

  21. Delrene Sims from Carlsbad, Ca

    Thank you for saving these precious animals. I’m hoping the little donkey is at the rescue center and/or part of the saved group. My sister’s name (she has passed) her name was Irene and this really hit me. Thank Laurie and SFSPCA FOR SAVING THEIR LIVES.

    Much still to find out how this came about. But, they are safe forever.

    1. Stephanie Morse

      Gosh Darlene

      My late niece and my mother were both named Irene. My niece was born in Miami. I wish I was in a position to take Flattering Irene.

  22. TBDancer

    I know times are tough. I know things are hard. I know people will do just about anything to make a living or feed their families. And I understand there are differences in cultures. But there IS A LIMIT to my patience when it comes to stories like this. God Bless Laurie and the folks at South Florida SPCA.

    I always try to be a good steward for my animals. I have had many “peanut butter and crackers” meals because there is more month left than money. But my animals NEVER go without. I don’t feed THEM the peanut butter and crackers, though the dogs seem to be “down” with that (:o) but my point is stories like this make me crazy.

    A special Hell awaits the people responsible for this. How did these tattooed TBs end up here? There is much more to this story, I think.

  23. A. Taylor

    Status of perps….names & details re. prosecution? Horrifying hell for these animals — perp(s) need to be identified!!

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