SUNRISE, Fla. - A 61-year-old man was arrested over the weekend in connection with an Animal Recovery Mission investigation that revealed a goat farm in Sunrise was actually operating as an illegal slaughter farm that conducted animal sacrifices, ARM officials announced Monday in a news release.
According to an arrest report, ARM received an anonymous tip about horrific conditions at the farm located at 10870 NW 50th St.
An undercover ARM investigator went to the farm and attempted to purchase a goat for $300.
Police said the investigator took photos and video of the animals at the farm and the poor conditions in which they were living.
The animals that lived at the farm included goats, cows, chickens, peacocks, dogs, turkeys, ducks, a pony and various types of birds.
According to the report, the living facilities of all the animals were not maintained, feces covered the grounds and garbage was found throughout the field.
Sunrise police officers, ARM officials and a veterinarian went to the farm June 28 and did a walk-through of the property with the consent of the animals' caretaker, Kalito Manola Jones, of Lehigh Acres, the report said.
Authorities said they saw a partially burned goat in a fire pit during the walk-through.
"This was an illegal slaughterhouse. Animals were being butchered and meat was being distributed throughout the southern part of Florida," Richard Couto, of ARM, said. "Animals were also being dealt for animal sacrifice, black magic, voodoo."
The veterinarian found that most of the goats had an infectious disease, pneumonia, mites and upper respiratory infections. Authorities said most of the female goats were pregnant and two goats were euthanized at the scene because of their poor condition.
According to the report, the chickens had feather loss, were malnourished and had debris clinging to their feet and legs.
The baby chickens had no feathers, police said.
Authorities said the turkeys, peacocks and ducks also had feather loss and were emaciated.
The pony, two adult dogs and nine puppies were found to be in good health, but were living in poor conditions, the report stated.
Police said Jones admitted that some of the animals were "too skinny" and said he would take the animals to a vet if they "get really bad."
ARM officials said many of the animals were too weak to move about the property and were held without food or water.
They said Jones was known to supply the sick animals from the Sunrise farm to illegal slaughter farms in Lee County.
"There were slaughter tables here, there were wenches to hang the animals and, as an expert on these properties, there was quite a bit of evidence of animals being butchered alive -- of their struggle," Couto said.
A total of 304 animals were seized from the property by ARM between June 28 and June 29.
Jones was arrested Sunday on 17 felony counts of animal cruelty and seven misdemeanor counts of confinement of animals without sufficient food and water.
"Due to the dedication and hard work of the Sunrise Police Department and the Broward County State Attorney's Office, justice has been brought to the individual responsible for tormenting and abusing the animals on this property," Couto said.
Authorities are still searching for another suspect allegedly involved in operations at the farm, identified as Noor al Banjadi.
Click here for information on how to adopt any of the animals confiscated by ARM.
Anyone with information about Banjadi's whereabouts is asked to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.
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