Some of the images revealed here are truly horrible. A stunning discovery in South Florida came to light Friday when a rescue operation in the planning for the past five months began. Thousands of farm animals had been found starved, deprived of water, and inhumanely slaughtered. The pictures of Friday’s bust at the Coco Farms illegal slaughter operation are stomach-churning. Over 9000 animals were rescued over the past few days, by a host of willing volunteers working alongside law enforcement. The animals found in these dire conditions included dogs, pigs, cows, goats and chickens.
The Florida animal rescue community knew it was serious when Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) sent out these urgent messages on March 8 to all their Facebook friends. “Urgent!!! Vets and Vet Techs Needed!!!! Please Private Message for More Details!!!! and then, “ARM is requesting volunteers with large size transport units to help with transportation anywhere between the Greater Miami area up to the Gainesville area! You will be helping a great deal!”
The raid itself was a two day operation, and with the rescue work continuing on. Officers called the site at Coco Farms “catastrophic.” Richard Couto of ARM said “These animals were starved to death. They’re drinking polluted water. The animals that were fed were being fed with intestines of newly slaughtered animals.”
Two men were arrested, 69-year-old Gregorio Santa Ana, the owner of Coco Farms and seen in one photograph above, and one other man, 35 year-old Jose Armando Solis. Both have been hit with an extensive list of animal cruelty charges. The animals will be placed at sanctuaries across the state. One of the volunteers at the site, Jenniffer Schile, after she was done with days of the hard work of rescue, is driving a baby goat pulled from Coco Farms up to the Animis Foundation in Ocala to be checked out. She said that the rescued baby already has a safe home in Gainesville. Ms. Schile will be giving her personal account of the rescue to this reporter in a follow-up article.
To their Facebook followers, ARM reported from the site, “All their lives matter. That’s why we are here.” They believe that this is their largest, most violent animal cruelty investigation to date. Reports state that Coco Farms was one of the largest known illegal slaughterhouses in the country. People would come to the farm, pick out an animal and have it butchered at the site in “some of the most unsanitary conditions in the country.” Sadly, many of the animals were in such deplorable condition that they had to be put down, never knowing freedom and safety.
“Probably a couple hundred, and animals are dying. Ultimately we saved millions and millions of unborn animals from entering this operation.”