October 13, 2015 marked an important date in Palm Beach County, Florida where 3 illegal animal slaughter farms were struck and raided by Animal Recovery Mission and the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s office and Sheriffs Department. On this day, 750 animals were rescued by ARM and Animal Care and Control and the offenders of extreme animal cruelty and sales or possession of horse meat were arrested. Although this was a great collaborative success, the criminals arrested were granted extremely low bond amounts, essentially walking away.
To add to the frustration, prosecuting state attorney, Judith Arco, began publicly stating that there was no evidence of horse meat or horse slaughter found on G.A. Paso Fino Farm. Not only did ARM’s undercover footage, captured during 6 months of investigating show clear evidence, but meat found in freezers located on site was sent to a lab for testing and came back positive as horse meat.
Both ARM and members of the greater Palm Beach County and Wellington communities were shocked, and extremely disappointed, to learn about these statements. Concerns are also on the rise about how these dangerous criminals are receiving such low plea bargains, minimal penalties and allowed back into the communities where people are now frightened for the lives of their animals.
Today, December 3, 2015 at 8:30am, Orlando Vazquez Guzman, who was the owner and one of the four operators of G.A. Paso Fino Farm, will be due in court for his motion hearing at the Palm Beach County Clerk of Courts, room 11F. Guzman was arrested under Florida statute 500.451 for unlawful possession or sales of horse meat and was released on a bond of only $3,000.
G.A. Paso Fino Farm was operating as a breeding, training, and horse sales facility as well as an illegal slaughter farm. The 4 operators of this farm, including Guzman, were illegally butchering farm animals as well as horses and illegally selling their meat for human consumption. This farm was also involved in supplying the black market horse meat trade from Palm Beach County to Miami Dade County.
Under the legislation of the “Good Horse Slaughter Act”, any person who buys, sells, transports, kills a horse or possesses horse meat for human consumption in the State of Florida is charged with a felony. The penalties are a minimum of one year in jail and a $3,500 fine. ARM and animal rights groups are expecting judge Glenn Kelley to enforce the maximum penalties against Orlando Guzman.
Edited Press Release