A Hialeah slaughterhouse operator accused of animal cruelty pleaded guilty Wednesday and accepted 10 years’ probation.
Rudesino “Rudy” Acosta, 59, was arrested two years ago after police obtained undercover video of him and others brutally beating and shooting animals.
The video showed Acosta and others slaughtering a bull and two pigs on a piece of agricultural land in Hialeah that he does not own, according to the state attorney’s office. The video was shot by the founder of a nonprofit organization, Animal Recovery Mission.
Authorities said the unlicensed slaughterhouse allowed blood and other fluids from the dead animals to seep into the ground, which is a violation of health standards.
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On Wednesday, Acosta agreed to plead guilty to a dozen counts. As part of his probation, Acosta must agree not to sell or possess livestock. He must also donate $50,000 to Animal Recovery Mission.
Unlicensed slaughterhouses have become commonplace in the western parts of Miami-Dade County, where authorities in recent years have busted offenders for illegally butchering and selling horse meat, pigs and chickens.
Acosta had faced up to 85 years in prison. But defense attorneys attacked the tactics and credibility of Animal Recovery Mission’s founder, who posed as an undercover buyer to shoot the video.
“We have always maintained that the state was far too aggressive in their prosecution of Mr. Acosta,” said lawyer Jude Faccidomo, who defended him with Jeffrey Weiner. “We appreciate that when they were confronted with the questionable nature of the ‘evidence,’ we ultimately were able to reach a compromise.”