Video shows neglected goats and other animals at farm in Sunrise
The images were gruesome. More than 300 emaciated goats, malnourished dogs and featherless birds were found crammed in a Sunrise farm, bloodstained knives nearby.
Especially troubling: There was at least one dead goat charred, found in a fire pit. Undercover investigators say the dogs could have been next.
“These animals were being sacrificed for illegal slaughter, bred, butchered, auctioned or sold for human consumption,” said Animal Rescue Mission (ARM) founder Richard “Kudo” Couto.
ARM, an investigative animal rights group targeting animal abuse, released the images and footage of their investigation Monday, a day after the manager of the farm in the 10800 block of Northwest 50th Street was arrested and charged with 17 counts of felony animal cruelty and seven misdemeanor counts of animal confinement.
The owner of the animals is on the run, investigators say, and is facing similar charges, after hundreds of dogs, puppies, goats, sheep, cows and birds were found either dead or dying on the property. In total, at least 17 animals were either dead or euthanized because of the deteriorating conditions.
Sunrise police arrested Kalito Jones, 61, Sunday. He is being held on $255,000 bond, jail records show.
Police say Jones, the farm’s manager, starved, neglected and confined animals on the farm. Jones, who lives in Lehigh Acres in Lee County, is also accused by ARM investigators of selling animals for religious sacrifice and butchering others for human consumption.
The investigation began when ARM received an anonymous tip at the end of June regarding animal cruelty at the goat farm. That’s when an investigator posed as a customer and tried to buy a goat for $300.
The investigator noted “the hazardous and unsafe conditions that the animals were living in,” the report said. The investigator then handed his findings over to the police department. “The living conditions of all the animals were not maintained and had feces covering the ground, and garbage throughout the field.”
According to the police report, Jones told investigators that he owned half of the animals on the property and was the primary caretaker for seven years. He told police he only took animals to the vet if they “get really bad.”
“Kalito also admitted that some of the animals were ‘too skinny’ but has failed to provide any treatment for their conditions,” an officer wrote in the arrest report, noting that there were seven enclosures that kept the animals confined without food and water.
“Many were too weak to move about the property on their own. The animals were never provided veterinarian care as they suffered and many died within their enclosures. The farm was acting as an illegal slaughter farm and conducted animal sacrifices on the property,” Couto said.
The surviving animals were ultimately rescued and sent to an ARM facility. Some of the dogs are up for adoption at the Humane Society of Greater Miami in North Miami Beach.
ARM is responsible for shutting down at least 145 farms in Florida due to animal negligence and abuse. Late last year, ARM released footage showing dairy farm employees in Okeechobee beating cows with a steel rod inside a barn, urging them to move quickly into and out of their milking stalls. It also showed the workers kicking the cows in the head and torso.
That investigation caused the farm to shut down and various grocery chains to suspend its milk shipments.