A Florida farm operator accused of illegally possessing horsemeat for human consumption will be allowed to keep horses on his property.
In October, the Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) along with personnel from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies, raided several allegedly illegal slaughter farms in West Palm Beach County, Florida. According to ARM founder Richard Cuoto, 750 animals—including horses, goats, cattle, pigs, dogs, cats, and birds—were rescued during the raids.
Eight people were arrested in connection with the raids, including Orlando Vazquez-Guzman of G.A. Paso Fino Farms in Loxahatchee. Vazquez-Guzman was accused of possession of horsemeat.
Joshua Hauserman, Vasquez-Guzman’s attorney, said the accused appeared in Palm Beach County Circuit Court on Dec. 3 and Judge Glenn Kelley allowed Vazquez-Guzman to keep six horses on his property.
“Of those, two horses belong to a friend, two are owned by Vazquez-Guzman’s son, and two belong to his grandson,” Hauserman said.
Kelley also ordered Vazquez-Guzman to allow personnel from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to conduct weekly welfare checks on the animals, Hauserman said.
Hauserman welcomed Kelley’s ruling on grounds that evidence relative to horse slaughtering at the G.A. Paso Fino Farm was scant. “There was no evidence that horses were slaughtered there,” he said
However, Cuoto said Kelley’s decision was concerning.
“For a judge to give possession of horses to a horse killer is something I haven’t seen in an ARM case to date,” he sai