MIAMI (AP) - A South Florida man faces multiple charges of animal cruelty after officials
shut down a slaughterhouse described as “monstrous.”
with the private group Animal Recovery Mission. The investigation was dubbed Operation Noche Buena,
which is Spanish for Christmas Eve.
The Miami Herald reports the investigation found that pigs were shot, stabbed, beaten with sledgehammers,
gutted and boiled while alive.
The arrest warrant is filled with examples of animal abuse. “On video surveillance,
pigs can be seen being dragged, hook-mouthed through the jaw, at distanced of approximately 150 feet, all while the animals remain alive.”
In one case, an undercover operative arranged to buy a boar. The report states that the boar
was shot with a small-caliber rifle. The board didn’t die immediately and thrashed and kicked for about three minutes
as it was dragged. In another incident, a pig was tossed into a vat of boiling water
while still showing signs of life after being hit with a hammer and stabbed.
Police said an employee used a shovel to hold the pig under water.
“No legitimate slaughterhouse operator or any self-respecting farmer would treat his livestock in such a ghastly manner,” said Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle.
Richard Couto, founder of Animal Recovery Group, called the operators
“savages with no sense of humanity.” He told The Herald that the slaughter of the animals
was so inhumane that four of his undercover operators quit after the probe.
Fernandez is being held in the Miami-Dade Jail. It wasn’t clear whether he has an attorney. He’s currently on probation for a marijuana trafficking conviction.
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