ARM helps take down illegal slaughterhouse

Richard “Kudo” Couto, founder of the Animal Recovery Mission, with Freedom's Flight, the ex-racehorse he saved from  an illegal slaughterhouse years ago.

Richard “Kudo” Couto, founder of the Animal Recovery Mission, with Freedom’s Flight, the ex-racehorse he saved from an illegal slaughterhouse years ago.

A Florida man accused of butchering horses and pigs in the notorious kill zone of the C-9 basin of Florida was arrested this month by Miami- Dade Police and charged with 30 counts of animal cruelty resulting in death, according to Animal Recovery Mission Founder Richard “Kudo” Couto, the private citizen who blew the whistle on the slaughterhouse.

Yurianne Hervis-Gonzalez, 33, was arrested and held on $80,000 bond following a five-month undercover investigation by Couto, dubbed “Operation Noche Buena,” which draws its name from a holiday during which pig and horse meat is commonly served, Couto says.

“He was the main killer, the guy who was brought in to kill the majority of animals on the site,” Couto says in a telephone interview. Couto videotaped the slaughter of pigs noting that they were killed by “torturous” methods, stomping them and boiling them alive. “He was the most violent animal killer,” he adds.

Couto submitted a lengthy report in his complaint to the Miami-Dade Police, and will testify at an upcoming court hearing for Hervis-Gonzalez.

This image taken by ARM in its latest investigation shows a pig that had been stabbed repeatedly, and then stomped during protracted and torturous slaughter.

This image taken by ARM in its latest investigation shows a pig that had been stabbed repeatedly, and then stomped during protracted and torturous slaughter.

Although the charges against Hervis-Conzalez stem from the slaughter of pigs, the defendant is also a very “well known horse killer,” Couto says.

The arrest of Hervis-Conzalez has been reported throughout the mainstream press and Couto has spoken to many media outlets about his involvement in the investigation leading up to the arrest.

Couto founded the Animal Recovery Mission in 2010 after he discovered the extent of illegal horse slaughter and other animal killings taking place in the Florida Everglades. It was while volunteering for the SPCA that Couto investigated an illegal slaughterhouse in the C-9 Basin, and wound up rescuing chestnut ex-racehorse Thoroughbred Freedom’s Flight from a horrible death. (Please see earlier story on Freedom’s Flight).

Since founding the Animal Recovery Mission, Couto has helped shutdown illegal slaughterhouses by investigating their activities, and filing complaints with the Miami-Dade Police.

“We’re not private investigators. We’re your typical, normal civilians” trying to shut down illegal slaughterhouses, and help stem animal cruelty, he says.

The arrest follows the arrest of two others connected with the illegal slaughterhouse. Raul “Freaky” Fernandez was arrested in (December) and Yonisley (Pipe) Garcia was arrested less than a month later, according to the Miami Herald. Donations to support ARM maybe made via this hyperlink. ♦

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21 responses to “ARM helps take down illegal slaughterhouse”

  1. Diane Symons

    Can you help me? There is a horse slaughter house in New Jersey called Bravo. It is so bad. He abuses Horses by starving them claims meat is learner. He makes one poor horse watch while the others are slaughtered. He cats eyes out so he can catch them. Horrible abuse. I have a page called Shut down Bravo please visit it. I have been trying to stop this monster for awhile. There is a video on my page few tears old but nothing changed. I don’t think I should go up there alone. Iam not afraid but I can’t talk to Jim and take photos he will not let me. Please contact me thank you

  2. R.A.C.E. Fund, Inc.

    Wish there were more Richard “Kudo” Couto’s in the world that are not afraid to stand up and do something about the horrendous cruelty to animals. Bravo for his action and work…

  3. Diablo James

    Thank you for the compassionate and essential work you do on behalf of innocent and defenseless animals Richard Couto. I am going to feature your philanthropy on my facebook page Penultimate Fighter. Kia kaha ake ake … forever be strong. In obeisance

  4. Annie Reynolds

    Thank you for caring for the helpless animals you save.

  5. Terry Banister

    I thought I read that animal cruelty was now a felony in all 50 states

  6. Diane

    It sickens me to hear about these people and the horrendous things they do to defenseless animals. Doridori, I was not aware of what you described so thank you for opening my eyes and hopefully others who can help fight against that also. At the same time, I’m grateful to the work Richard Couto and ARM are doing to bring this ugly world down. Thank you for all you do and I’m contributing. I hope everyone will try give something no matter the amount.

  7. cheri vaughan

    It kills my heart. I am so upset right now I have no words. Only that I choose not to blind myself no matter how much it hurts. I am ashamed to be human.

  8. Gloria Stagmer

    I hope this abuser will be sent out of the country. The earlier posts regarding this butcher made me weep for the suffering these animals endured. Surely anyone who would do what they have done is mentally ill and in my opinion deserves no mercy themselves. People who participate or purchase should both be held liable for this abuse. Florida should be ashamed. Richard’s efforts to bring justice are to be commended. Thank you, Richard.

  9. doridori

    If the CUBANS would stop lining up to buy – and bringing their kids to WATCH – what they like to call ‘fresh meat’ this horror would stop. They line up to buy the illegal horse meat also, though they are more secretive about that as the sale of the meat is illegal. Unfortunately the actual slaughter (which is horrendous and usually done with a chain saw) of an owned or of a ‘free to a good home’ acquired horse, is not actually illegal!

  10. Teresa Melnick

    What an incredible man! Does anyone know how these illegal slaughterhouses are discovered? I haven’t heard of any in New York State, but I wonder how he found them?
    So glad he did, though. This story is so disturbing and inspiring at the same time.

  11. Nona

    I would just go and shoot these guys then dump their bodies in the swamp. No one would miss them.

    1. possum

      Oh, I don’t know, I’ll bet a pen full of pigs would dispose of those bodies very efficiently, and the poetic justice would be priceless.

  12. Laureen

    OMG!!! That poor pig, what evil men!!! I would like to see them hung from the nearest tree with their balls chopped off. They are very angry, violent individuals who took out their anger and hate on animals. How could you do these things to innocent beings?? If they could, they would do this to other humans, they are just to afraid of ending up in prison if they did. So it is okay to do this animals as the penalties are not as serious.

  13. Michelle Y.

    I hope these savages have to answer for their actions one day, whether it’s God or karma, whatever you believe. Thank God for Richard Couto and ARM, I am going to head over to their website to donate.

  14. Jon

    It is clear that the people torturing animals during the killing process are deranged. I would bet many were abused as children and then redirect their anger towards something that cannot fight back. Even if the pigs were home grown for consumption, a death that is quick and painless is the greatest form of respect you can show an animal that has been raised for this purpose. Any other way is the act of a barbarian. As for people eating horses, it is a practice that I cannot condone.

    May these people that are fighting this type of cruelty be successful and see the end of these horrible pactices.

  15. Michelle

    Bless you ARM for what you do! I shudder to think what these poor animals went through 🙁

  16. TBDancer

    Another one bites the dust!

    1. Mary Butler

      I always enjoy your posts, TB Dancer!

  17. ann fox

    GOOD NEWS….sharing everywhere I can think of…

  18. Jo Anne Normile

    I first heard a representative from ARM speak at the first International Horse Welfare Conference in 2011 outside of DC and their work, especially the undercover work of Richard Couto was a standing applause. Everyone was appalled that so many illegal horse slaughterhouses were operating in FL and basically there is one organization, ARM, that is doing such life threatening work as infiltration of such places. We should all give these private citizens a “standing ovation” through donation to their organization so they might continue this work to stop this unconscionable “business”. Thank you for this article!

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