Jorge Garcia, owner and operator of Rancho Garcia, an illegal slaughterhouse in Southern Florida, was sentenced today to 364 days in prison with no possibility of house arrest. Garcia will not be allowed to own animals or reside with anyone who does after his release. Additionally, Garcia will participate in a humane treatment course and will not be allowed to possess firearms. He will be subject to random checks by law enforcement following his release.

On March 30th, Jurors found Garcia guilty on two counts of animal cruelty with intent to kill and two counts of animal cruelty by not rendering the animals insensible to pain prior to slaughter. Since the verdict, Garcia has remained in jail awaiting sentencing.

Rancho Garcia was one of three illegal slaughter operations raided last October by Palm Beach County law enforcement agencies and the Animal Recovery Mission (ARM). Video evidence collected by undercover ARM agents documented proof of inhumane animal handling and slaughter practices. The video was collected using cameras hidden in a watch, water bottle and a car alarm “clicker.” For further details of those atrocities, click here.

Defense Attorney Andrew Stine made repeated attempts to have the video evidence thrown out, but to no avail. Prosecutor Judith Arco was allowed to show the video in court, and the 6 jurors reportedly asked to view it a second time during deliberations.

Of today’s sentencing, ARM’s founder Richard Couto says the following, “Cases involving farm animals are usually overlooked. This is an extremely important case and has created case law for further investigations moving forward.”

Jorge Garcia’s employee, Rafael Ramirez, faces charges of illegally selling horsemeat and awaits trial.

For more information about ARM’s founder, Richard Couto, read here.

Ashley Fairfield-Remeza

Animal Recovery Mission