The Miami Herald is reporting that the Miami-Dade Police Department has raided a suspected slaughterhouse operating illegally in the southwest part of the county.
After an investigation that spanned several months, authorities arrested three people who are accused of acts of animal cruelty, including killing pigs, goats, and rabbits, in particularly inhumane fashion.
The three suspects were apparently part of a business that operated legally, selling live animals.
The three suspects have been charged with animal cruelty, which is a third-degree felony if the animals are killed.
Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to 5 years in state prison.
Apparently, two of the three suspects have lengthy criminal records. It is unknown at this time what “career criminal” enhancements these two suspects may face, if any.
The investigation consisted of eyewitnesses visiting the business, as well as undercover video surveillance.
Unlicensed slaughterhouses are not uncommon in Miami-Dade County. State and local law enforcement agencies, along with animal protection agencies such as the ASPCA, target suspected unlicensed slaughterhouses for criminal investigations.
One of the suspects is being held in the Miami-Dade jail on a $22,500 bond on three counts of animal cruelty.
Another one of the suspects was out on bond for another crime when he was arrested for operating the slaughterhouse. He is being held without a bond.
The third suspect is being held on a $5,000 bond, only charged with one count of animal cruelty at this point.
The crimes you are arrested for and the crimes that you are formally charged with by the State Attorney’s Office can change. During the pre-file process (21-30 days prior to arraignment), charges can be increased, added, or dropped depending on what evidence comes to light during this process.
That is why I always believe it is most important to retain a criminal defense attorney immediately so that the attorney can present evidence to the prosecutor during the pre-file stage.