The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has responded to social media posts claiming horses have been slaughtered in the Sorrento area.
Sheriff’s officials say they have not responded to any calls for service in that area in reference to the killing of animals. But they did confirm responding to a complaint of a suspicious vehicle in the Sorrento area that fit the description of a vehicle seen in another county where horses were slaughtered.
Sheriff’s deputies patrolled the area extensively but didn’t locate the vehicle or any injured or dead horses. So far, no reports of slaughtered horses have occurred in Lake County, officials say.
Earlier this month, law enforcement officials from throughout the Central Florida area issued warnings about an outbreak of horse slaughter cases. Sheriff’s detectives from Sumter, Marion and Manatee counties have experienced these crimes in their jurisdictions. It is believed that the horses are being harvested for meat in Palmetto.
The suspect shown above is considered a person of interest in one of the Manatee County cases and is being sought for questioning. It isn’t known if he is involved in other horse thefts, officials say.
The Sumter County case involved a horse taken from the Sumterville area. Sumter County sheriff’s detectives are asking anyone with information about the crime to call (352) 793-2621. To remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward up to $1,000, please contact Crimeline about any of the horse thefts across the Central Florida area at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).
Horse owners are encouraged to be vigilant in ensuring the safety of their animals. Any suspicious incidents involving property, such as attempts to gain entry or cut fencing, should be reported to law enforcement immediately.