Police: Show horse slain for meat in Florida

26 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

1,300-pound show horse slaughtered on Florida farm.

PALMETTO, Fla. (AP) — A 1,300-pound show horse was slaughtered on a ranch by a mystery butcher who detectives believe targeted the massive animal to sell its meat on the black market, police said.PALMETTO (CBSMiami/AP) – The remains of a 12-year old award winning jumping show horse by the name of Phedras de Blondel were found early Sunday morning on a farm in Palmetto.

Stephens, a renowned American equestrian, arrived at her horse barn in Palmetto, Fla., to check on some paperwork and prepare for the day’s lessons. Suddenly, one of the barn workers appeared with unsettling news: The latch on the stall of a prized Grand Prix-level show jumper had been tampered with, and the horse was nowhere to be found. Investigators said they believed the perpetrator was someone who wanted horse meat, knew the farm had horses and took Phedras because he was a big, heavy horse.

Within an hour, there were signs of an unusual crime, then a brutal discovery: The horse had been led from his stall and taken far from the barn, where he was carved up so professionally that authorities are investigating it as an animal cruelty case carried out by an expert butcher for meat. “He had been filleted,” the horse’s owner, Ms. The crime has been classified as a burglary of an occupied dwelling, grand theft and cruelty to an animal. “And then you know it was something … something bad went down”. The incident appears to be the latest in a rash of criminal cases in which horses have been discovered butchered and left to die at private and commercial equestrian facilities in Florida. Most of the incidents involved horses being stolen and then slaughtered in the southeast of the state, most recently in a slaughterhouse in Palm Beach County. In the more rural Manatee County, in Central Florida, there have been about one or two instances a year of cows being rustled and slaughtered, said David Bristow, a spokesman for the Manatee County sheriff’s department.

Steve Stephens has owned Imperial Farms since the 1960s, and is an accomplished horseman as well who has been show manager, coach trainer, judge and course designer. She runs Centennial Equestrian Farm, one of several based at the Imperial horse complex, which is owned by her husband, Steve Stephens, a top show course designer and champion rider himself.

Stephens said she had just recently purchased Phedras in Europe from a French breeder to ride for several years while she developed the skills of a younger horse who could then eventually take over as her primary mount in the Grand Prix, show jumping’s most prestigious and dramatic event. Steve Stephens told news source, Bradenton Herald, that they want to openly talk about this grisly event to warn neighbors with animals to be informed and aware so this will not happen to them. The animal, a 12-year-old chestnut gelding, had just arrived at the farm in Florida on Friday, fresh from a proven track record of being a dependable competitor in Europe. The latch was bolted into the door but unchained: Someone had neglected a crucial step of a two-step method that was the barn rule when closing stall doors.

Maybe they went by size. . .But to go to the trouble of taking him out of his stall, leading him down a path, taking him to the far property that is sort of out of sight, and then do what they did. Stephens, who said she was not a “panicker,” set off on foot to look for Phedras around the farm, which is more than 31 acres of rambling paddocks, training rings and pastures that contain another dozen horses. A necropsy showed that a knife was plunged into the horse’s right ribs, puncturing the aorta, and officials think there was a struggle before the horse fatally weakened.

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