The animal’s lives depend on him and his dedicated team
Richard Couto left behind a successful commercial real estate career and never looked back the day after he saw a horse tied to a tree, emaciated, with protruding bones and open sores, a grotesquely swollen face while nearly choking on the oozing mucus from a severe case equine distemper.
In the C-9 Basin, Freedom’s Flight awaited his fate: death in an illegal slaughterhouse.
Amidst the screams of the animals at the nearby numerous illegal slaughterhouses he rushed to the side of the gentle ex-racehorse, wanting to comfort him, and reassure him that help had arrived: Freedom’s Flight would not die this day.
“The second I saw Freedom’s Flight, I took a picture of him. I couldn’t believe it. Then I went up to him and he put his head and full weight onto me,” Couto says.
As he assisted the others in helping the sick, emaciated horse get onto a rescue trailer, his thoughts were already forming. And when he later visited the animal in quarantine within a stone’s throw of other illegal slaughterhouses, Couto made a new vow.
“While I listened to the animals being tortured on 97th Avenue, I vowed to this horse that I would seek redemption for him. One day, I told him, I’ll do it.”
Freedom’s Flight was the next in line to die in an illegal slaughterhouse in the C-9 Basin of Florida when the SPCA, the Miami-Dade Police arrived.
Couto adopted Freedom’s Flight from the SPCA and visited him regularly in his quarantine field. It was hot that summer, as he hosed off the sweat and flies, and promised to avenge the suffering animal.
After five weeks, the horse had overcome his contagious disease and was placed in a quiet barn far from the cries of dying animals. And for nine long months, he rehabbed in his stall to allow his shattered leg to fuse. “Because so much time had passed from the time he broke it, surgery was no longer an option,” says Couto, explaining that after Freedom’s Flight broke down at the racetrack, he changed hands a few times, and never had the leg properly set.
In 2010 Richard “Kudo” Couto founded Animal Recovery Mission, known as ARM, a non-profit “dedicated to eliminating severe animal cruelty operations worldwide.” ARM’s mission “is to be an uncompromising defending force for the welfare of animals in addition to putting an end to and preventing pain, suffering, and torture inflicted as a result of inhumane practices.”
ARM is non stop and has recently taken on the cruel dairy industry. Please support this genuine, honest, no-nonsense organization that is a Godsend for the animals.
I’ve been an animal advocate and activist for 30 years and I believe to make societal changes that atrocities need to be exposed and the two groups that do that better than any other and make the greatest strides and changes for our voiceless friends is ARM / Animal Recovery Mission and PETA
Richard and his team are true heroes PLEASE SUPPORT THEM; THE ANIMALS DEPEND ON IT!
The following was copied from Freedom’s Flight Story page with the information about his famous bloodline as the great, great-grandson of Secretariat the legendary racehorse as well as shining a light on the greedy and cruel racing industry, the illegal slaughterhouses, human indifference to the suffering of others and the harrowing struggle and triumph of this amazing horse.
Born in 2005, at the prestigious Claiborne Farms of the Blue grass region of Kentucky, Freedoms Flight was destined to fill the shoes of his famous great, great grandfather and America’s legendary racehorse, Secretariat.
Nonetheless, on race day at Gulfstream Park (Fl) in April of 2008, straight out of the starting gate, Freedoms suffered a devastating blow and snapped his cannon bone. Injury aside, he continued to run to a miraculous finish and placed in the third position. This was the first time in US racing history that a racehorse not only continued to run in a race after breaking a bone but finished in a money stakes position.
Freedoms Flights would, however, soon find out that he was short of being praised for his courage. It was to be his last race and the beginning of his journey to hell and back.
Freedoms’ fate quickly dwindled once the owner handed possession over to Freedom’s pony handler who sold him, with his untreated injury, to a pony ride company for a quick buck. Freedoms was then subjected to carrying children around on his back for long hours in the hot sun, whilst suffering excruciating pain from his injury. When he was no longer able to tolerate the pain, the pony ride company preceded to sell him to Manuel Coto’s animal slaughter farm.
Once worth millions of dollars, he was sold for a measly fifty dollars. Freedoms Flight’s famous bloodline no longer had him on a pedestal as he became destined to be brutally slaughtered to be on someones dinner plate.
On the day he was discovered, Freedoms Flight was found tied up to a palm tree and next in line to be butchered alive amongst a slew of animals also awaiting to be slaughtered. He was extremely emaciated and suffering a severe case of strangles, disease, and rain-rot besides his severe leg injury.
When Freedoms Flight was rescued, he had tolerated as much abuse, torture, illness, and pain as he could withstand and had almost given up the will to live.
During the long months that it took to nurse Freedoms Flight back to health, ‘Kudo’ started The Animal Recovery Mission, which was inspired because of this horse and a vision was born to prevent other horses and animals from enduring what Freedom’s Flight had been subjected to.
Today Freedoms Flight reigns in his glory not only as a success story and a loved companion to Kudo but as ARM’s driving force and mascot. He has gone from hell and back and is an inspiration for his fighting spirit.