In Manatee County, Florida equestrians from across the nation are gathering together in support of the devastating slaughter of Phedras de Blondel, a prized 12-year-old chestnut gelding jumper, who less than two weeks ago had been purchased by Deborah Stephens and arrived from Europe.
The horse was killed sometime between the hours of 8:00 p.m. on Saturday and 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning and was found by Stephens at the Imperial Farms Equestrian Center. Parts of the horse’s body were missing. Deputies state the horse had been removed from his stall prior to being killed.
As of Wednesday morning, more than 315 donations totaling more than $37,980 have been made to the www.gofundme.com/centennialfarm account set up to raise reward money for information leading to the arrests and convictions of the killers of Phedras de Blondel. Manatee Crime Stoppers will manage the fund. On the fundraising page, Deborah Stephens announced she has been organizing a charitable foundation to help eradicate the theft and slaughter of horses for human consumption. “For the time being, the reward will remain at $30,000 for any valuable information that leads to an arrest and conviction, and all additional funds will go toward our efforts to eliminate this growing problem. Please continue to spread the word and continue to donate, because this problem is not going away on its own. This tragic event has shown us that it is much easier than any of us thought to steal a horse, for any reason, including human consumption, and we have learned a lot. Unfortunately show horses are now targets…,” stated Stephens.
Show horses are usually large and muscular, easy to catch because they are stalled and are used to being handled by different people. Stephens believes the thieves did not specifically target Phedras de Blondel who was one of six horses in the barn. She thinks they chose the 1,200-pound horse because “they were looking for horses that were big and fat” and because his stall was next to the exit. She suspects they had previously scouted out the stable as their target and knew exactly what they were doing as exhibited by the horrific slaughter for the horse’s meat from his shoulder, rump and legs expertly cut away.
According to the HeraldTribune, Stephens could not have been more devastated when she stated, so horrific. “I’ve never seen anything so horrific… the pain he went through… He tried to break away and then they finished him off,” stated Deborah. Read the prior story here. Anyone with information about who may have butchered Phedras de Blondel is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-8477.
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