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article imageIllegal slaughter house allegedly tortured hundreds of animals

By Karen Graham     Mar 18, 2015 in Crime
Doral - To call what was going on "animal cruelty" would be putting it mildly. When Miami-Dade police raided Coco Farms in Doral, Fla., they really weren't prepared for the scenes of extreme brutality and torture of animals they found.
A police raid on an illegal slaughterhouse near the Florida Turnpike at 41st Street on the edge of Doral, Fla. has lead to the arrest of Gregorio Santa Ana, 69, one of the owners, and an employee, Jose Armando Solis, 35. The operation has been going on for almost 25 years, right under the noses of homeowners in a nearby subdivision.
On Thursday, March 12, Animal Rescue Mission’s Richard Couto led police to the "killing field," a supposedly legal business with a licence to sell live animals. When Miami-Dade police entered the property, they found dead and partially eaten animals throughout the facility's 200 acres at 11800 NW 41st St. They also recovered about 3,000 animals, mostly pigs, goats, chickens and cows. Of the animals found alive, over 100 had to be euthanized.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle called the animal rescue the largest animal rescue mission in the U.S. “This is so ghastly, barbaric. There were rotting carcasses, animals eating each other,” said Fernandez Rundle. “I only looked at some of the video. I couldn’t look at all of it.”
Police found seven illegal structures on the property. One of the owners and the employee were found in a slaughterhouse on the southwest corner of the property. Police say the other buildings were used to hang animals, slit their throats and let them bleed out. The pigs were often boiled on site. Pigs sold for $180 and goats for $160. There was also a $20 kill charge.
Gregorio Santa Ana, one of the owners, was charged with 21 counts of cruelty to animals, three counts of illegally confining them without food and water and two counts of illegally shackling them with intent to kill. His bond was set at $169,000. The employee, Jose Armando Solis, was charged with five counts of cruelty to animals and two counts of confining them without food or water. Police are still looking for another owner Ruben Rodriguez, 67. He is facing charges of six counts of animal cruelty, two counts of illegally shackling an animal with intent to kill, and a single count of confining an animal improperly. Prosecutors said his bond is expected to be $62,000.
Couto is the founder of Animal Relief Mission (ARM). His mission to uncover the illegal slaughterhouse began on Christmas Eve, 2014 and lasted until the first part of February. In that time, he made four visits to the facility. "We went in as customers and basically befriended them. We slowly create relationships with them until they would do their regular activities on the property in front of us, until they felt comfortable enough to start killing animals," he told The Dodo.
Cuoto was absolutely astounded and sickened by the brutality he witnessed. He described some of what he saw:
"They were boiling animals alive. They were drowning animals in boiling water. They were skinning animals alive — and I'm talking about completely skinning animals while they were alive. They hung goats upside down, stabbed them in the throats, and then twisted their heads completely off while they were still alive. I've never seen anything like the ongoings at this property."
Cuoto also said the company did a lot of advertising in the local Asian newspapers, and during the Christmas and New Year's holidays, Coco Farms did a big business. "They probably did 40 to 50 percent of their business with Asian restaurants in the area, selling meat to them illegally," he added. Taking hidden videos he had made, Cuoto coordinated with law enforcement to put an end to the illegal business.
More about Coco farms, killing field, tortured and boiled alive, local asian newspapers, Animal cruelty charges
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