Richard ‘Kudo’ Couto is the Founder of Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) and ARM Sanctuary.
As a college graduate from Northeastern University, Kudo quickly became a successful businessman and excelled in sales and marketing for Fortune 500 companies. During this time, Kudo’s active lifestyle also merged into the realm of professional sailing and competitive sports. One of his most significant sports accomplishments included sailing as a team member in the ‘America’s Cup’ and traveling nationwide at pro-level motor-cross competitions. After a severe injury ended his athletics career, Kudo moved to Miami Beach (FL), where he utilized his skills from business and entered into the Real Estate industry. Here he quickly excelled in commercial and residential sales and development. During this time, Kudo’s path in life would become the most impactful and important phase.
As a devoted animal advocate, who grew up surrounded by animals, Kudo became a major donor to animal defense organizations, including the South Florida SPCA. It was here that he was also nominated to join as a board member and began volunteering regularly. On one fateful day, while assisting on an investigation, Kudo’s path crossed with an emaciated horse who seized from an illegal slaughter farm in Miami, FL. It wasn’t until after Kudo adopted the recently retired thoroughbred, Freedom’s Flight, that he came to learn of his painful history and revealed the horse’s lineage – a descendent of the famous racehorse, Secretariat. Learn More
Freedom’s Flight became the pinnacle of Kudo’s life purpose – to investigate, expose, and derail a heinous animal cruelty industry that he has since titled – The Black Market Horse Meat Trade. Kudo devoted months to educating himself on slaughter farms, connections to the racing industry, and animal cruelty that was occurring under everyone’s noses in the greater Miami area.
By day, Kudo continued his career in real estate, and by night he infiltrated illegal animal slaughter and animal fighting operations. While with the SPCA, he started to investigate cases with law enforcement agencies on animal cruelty operations, until both he and the SPCA began to get death threats to cease their involvement. After that, Kudo amicably departed ways with the SPCA, and in 2010 he made the bold decision to create Animal Recovery Mission (ARM). His vision was to formulate an organization that was outfitted solely to investigations that no other entity would take.
Soon after the inception of ARM, Kudo’s sole investigations led to the execution of one of the most significant joint tactical force operations assembled in Florida’s history and the most massive animal cruelty investigation in the USA. Operation Restore included 20 community, state, and federal agencies who raided a prominent area of illegal activity upon animals, locally known as the C9 basin. Over 75 illegal slaughterhouses, 17 illegal animal fighting operations, 20 horse slaughter rings, and countless animal sacrifice farms shut down, and hundreds of arrests made.
Nine years later, Kudo’s personal and career accomplishments have mounted to some of the most impressive and historical efforts in the industry. Once a small non-profit, Kudo has led ARM into a multifaceted company that has become one of the most esteemed and impactful animal defense organizations in the world.
One of the biggest keys to ARM’s success is its ability to work closely with official departments, such as; State Attorney’s Offices, EEF, FBI, DEA, ICE, Sheriff’s office, local law enforcement, and political leaders. Kudo also prides himself on not shying away from working against these departments when there is a lack of action.
Kudo has also been interviewed and featured for his achievements with ARM, in thousands of media arenas, including special investigative reports, documentaries, and television reality shows. Learn More
In 2009 Kudo received an Emmy Award for an animal abuse investigation story, in conjunction with NBC News, for the Documentary “The Last Ride.”
Kudo also speaks regularly at Universities and Law Schools, inspiring and educating future animal advocates and change-makers.
With his heart devoted to the field of investigations, Kudo aspires to continue to raise the bar and develop new and effective techniques of investigating that will lead to the successful derailment of industries, both legal and illegal, who subject animals to abuse, pain, suffering, and exploitation. Kudo’s vision is to create a unique niche where military, law enforcement, and civilians can be brought together as one dynamic force.
The future plans for ARM are limitless. They include continuing both its national and global reach and advancing its efforts further in the fields of; anti-poaching, disaster response, conservation, and ocean reservation.
In the immediate future, however, Kudo’s passion is geared towards shedding light on the truths behind the world of Factory Farm abuse by spearheading intensified investigations and campaigns. Kudo was a significant meat and dairy consumer before these investigations, so his goal is to raise awareness of the epic violence associated with this particular industry, educate and inspire others to make significant changes to lead more plant-based lifestyles.
Today, Kudo lives and breathes the benefits of leading a plant-based and compassionate life and hopes to encourage others to follow in his footsteps.