TAMPA, FL - October 16, 2020 - According to a new report on tampabay.com, a man from St. Petersburg is facing charges of animal cruelty and grand theft after Manatee County Sheriff's Office deputies accuse the man of klling a horse in Palmetto, Florida, in 2019. The Manatee County Sheriff's Office deputies assert that the man was spotted on security camera footage that places the suspect at the scene of the crime.
Almost a year after the rise in several horse killings terrified the Central Florida equestrian community, horse owners in the region can now breathe a sigh of relief as the suspect has been caught and arrested. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office asserts that a St. Petersburg suspect was arrested in one of those horse murder cases.
The 50-year-old man is facing charges of animal cruelty and grand theft. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies stated that the suspect was responsible for at least one murder. In that case the owner of the horse made a gruesome discovery when one of his Palmetto horses was killed back on December 2, 2019. According to the report, an individual forced open a locked gate, the took a horse, escorted the horse into a field, murdered the horse, and then butchered the horse. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies statement claims that the killer or killers had “harvested most of the meat” off of the horse.
A camera on the property recorded a man as the man used a flashlight to look for a horse to steal. The man's face was highly visible in the video. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies stated that they had expected a lot of tips to come in about the case. However, after two months there wasn't a single lead.
On Friday, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office reported that they arrested a suspect in the case on Thursday. The The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies also stated that they used to video “and other investigative means” to place the suspect at the scene of the crime. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman stated that she was not able to comment with greater detail on the investigative tactics used in the arrest.
The selling and purchasing of horse meat is illegal throughout the United States. However, the horse killings in 2019 were not the only such criminal slaughter cases. This year, another horse was found slaughtered in Collier County, Florida. In the month of April, a Miami rancher, who had been previously arrested for illegally selling horse meat, was caught by undercover law enforcement officers selling illegal horse meat and he was also charged with animal cruelty when law enforcement discovered 23 malnourished horses on his Okeechobee County ranch.
The owners of the horse that was killed in Palmetto, Florida, decided not to provide a comment in the story. The suspect is being held at the Pinellas County jail and he was unable to post a $22,500 bail.