In June of 2018, ARM confirmed suspicious activity upon a rural property located in Fellsmere (Florida). It was conducting both the illegal and inhumane slaughter of animals and the trading of farm animals for sacrificial rituals.
What soon followed was an in-depth undercover investigation that spanned over seven 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 was on all occasions in gross violation of the Humane Slaughter ACT. Many of the goats slaughtered, were hoisted and butchered while still alive and insensible to pain. On most occasions, animals endured anywhere from 3 to 7 minutes of torture until their eventual death. The full extent of these barbaric crimes is in a detailed report composed by ARM. (See Below)
The Black Cloud property sells animals for Santeria. The sale of a female goat that operatives requested to purchase for a ‘supposed sacrificial ceremony’ confirmed this is in December of 2018. ARM Sanctuary took in this where she received medical care and now is a permanent resident.
The animal offenders committing the Black Cloud Slaughter Farm crimes 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 unlisted as a business. There are no business permits, and the property is unknown to the USDA as a custom exempt slaughter farm.
After this investigation, ARM presented the case to the Agriculture Unit from the Indian River Sheriff’s Department on February 13th, 2019.
ARM’s presented the case evidence to the State Attorney’s Office, and both agencies determined that there was no probable cause for felony animal cruelty. The SAO declined to prosecute under the Humane Slaughter Act, and to date, enforcement agencies have made no arrests or taken further actions.
On May 14th, 2019, the lack of actions by enforcement agencies made ARM proceeded to host a press conference to media and the public with the findings of this case.