Reward upped for info leading to arrest/conviction in Sumter horse slaughter case

The reward for information leading to an arrest/conviction in a horse slaughter case in Sumter County has been increased.

Sumter County Sheriff’s detectives are continuing to pursue leads in the investigation of a horse being taken from the Sumterville area last year. They are asking anyone with information about the case to contact the sheriff’s office at (352) 793-2621. To remain anonymous and be eligible for the reward of up to $5,000, those with information can contact Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).

In December, 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 were investigating crimes in their jurisdictions and it was believed that the horses were being harvested for meat in Palmetto.

The suspect shown above is considered a person of interest in a horse slaughter case in Manatee County. Similar cases have been reported in Sumter and Marion counties as well.

A photo of a suspect who was considered a person of interest in one of the Manatee County cases was released. He was being sought for questioning and it wasn’t known if he was possibly connected to other horse thefts, officials say.

Earlier this month, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded to social media posts claiming that horses had been slaughtered in the Sorrento area. Sheriff’s officials said they hadn’t 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. They patrolled the area extensively but didn’t locate the vehicle or any injured or dead horses.

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.