Investigators in Manatee County, FL, speculate that Phedras de Blondel, the prized Grand Prix jumper slaughtered over the weekend, was singled out because of his 1,300-pound weight and size. The search continues for the brutal butchers who trespassed on a farm in Palmetto, brazenly removed the horse from his stall, led him to the far reaches of the property, and killed him. Only the head, neck and rib cage remained of Phedras, according to Steve Stephens, horse owner’s husband. The large horse was apparently killed for his meat. On Oct. 27 speculation arose by detectives that Phedras’ slaughter was possibly connected to an active crime ring.
No doubt this disturbing situation has all the horse owners in Manatee County on edge. Not much is going to put minds at ease until the perpetrators are caught and punished. Public consensus is that this sort of lawless cruelty could happen anywhere in the state, and everybody needs to be on alert and concerned about it.
Locals around the area have grouped together to brainstorm and to help apprehend the killers. A “Go Fund Me” campaign, started on Sunday, has already raised $50,685 at this date and time for reward moneys to get information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the criminals responsible for Phedras de Blondel’s slaughter. Actor William Shatner has also responded to this incident with a substantial contribution to the fund. The remarkable generosity of so many concerned people has been astounding and, hopefully, will lead to positive results.
Concerned neighbors are organizing an area “watch” program. Winter is nearing and horse activity increases in Florida for the sunshine circuit and major horse shows. Many horses come into Florida to participate in equine activities, and security has become a major issue.
Meanwhile, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office suggests horse owners implement stringent precautions. Here are a few recommendations:
- Closely review stables and property from a criminal’s perspective. Where are entry locations? Study the property on Google Maps [Street View] and Google Earth closely to become aware of what others see without actually being there in person.
- Install infrared cameras so it effectively captures activities day and night.
- Post signs that there is active video surveillance.
- Install motion activated lights. Keep barn aisles lit at night.
- Get a guard dog.
- Do not lock stall doors. Instead, install alarm units on each stall door and keep it activated during hours of inactivity. Then connect the alarm to cell phone for immediate notification.
- Hire night-time security guard to patrol property for extra peace of mind.
There is the concern that Grand Prix horse Phedras de Blondel’s slaughter and the recent slaughter of prize-winning competitive horse Smart Amanda Whiz could be part of a crime ring. Officials are giving this a serious review. Dave Bristow, the spokesman for Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, said.
Certainly that’s one thing we’re looking at too, because we’ve had instances like this where some things have gone on in South Florida and all of a sudden we’ve got things going on here.
Authorities suspect the killings may be related to the black market horse meat trade in Florida. Slaughtering horses and selling horse meat is illegal in the United States and Florida prohibits the “sale, purchase, distribution, transportation or possession of horse meat for human consumption.” These laws have not stopped criminals from establishing a ring of illegal slaughterhouses in the state. Only a couple of week ago, Palm Beach and Miami law enforcement together with Animal Recovery Mission [ARN] raided three slaughter farms that were butchering horses and selling their meat for human consumption.
If anyone can offer any tips or information, call the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers.
Read author’s prior articles of the slaughter incidents in southern Florida: Brilliant jumper Phedras de Blondel killed just days after arriving in USA. [and following raids in three slaughter farms – all slaughters somehow connected AND crime ring connections?] Florida authorities release seventh name arrested in illegal horse meat trade, Animal Recovery Mission offering big money reward. Officials seized animals and closed three illegal Florida slaughterhouses
Donated funds amount current as of Oct. 30 5:53 p.m. Eastern