In June of 2018, ARM confirmed suspicious activity upon a rural property located in Fellsmere (Florida), that was conducting both the illegal and inhumane slaughter of animals, as well as the trading of farm animals for sacrificial rituals.
What soon followed was an in-depth undercover investigation that spanned over 7 months upon the public operating farm, named ‘Black Cloud’. During this time, ARM operatives collected incriminating video footage including the dragging, handling, trading, stabbing, tormenting, hoisting and butchering of farm animals.
The slaughtering of animals were on all occasions in gross violation of the Humane Slaughter ACT. Many of the goats that were slaughtered, were hoisted and butchered whilst still alive and insensible to pain. On most occasions, animals endured any where from 3 to 7 minutes of torture until their eventual death. The full extent of these barbaric crimes are listed in a detailed report composed by ARM. (See Below)
Animals are also sold for Santeria at the Black Cloud property, which was confirmed with an undercover purchase on December of 2018, with the sale of a female goat that operatives requested to purchase for a ‘supposed sacrificial ceremony’. This goat was taken back to the ARM Sanctuary where she received medical care and now is a permanent resident.
The animal offenders committing the crimes at the Black Cloud Slaughter Farm involved three men and included the owner William ‘Billy’ Lathero, David Cox (butcher) and Ricky (butcher).
During ARM’s investigations, a records check of Indian River County and the State of Florida databases concluded that the Black Cloud animal slaughter farm is not listed as a business.There are no business permits and the property is not listed with the USDA as a custom exempt slaughter farm.
At the completion of this investigation, ARM presented the case to the Agriculture Unit from the Indian River Sheriff’s Department on February 13th 2019.
ARM’s case evidence was presented to the State Attorney’s Office and both agencies determined that there was no probable cause for felony animal cruelty. Prosecution under the Humane Slaughter ACT was declined and to date no arrests, or action have made by enforcement agencies.
Due to the lack of enforcement, on May 14th, 2019 ARM proceeded to host a press conference to media and the public with the findings of this case.