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Authorities Believe Suspects In Dairy Farm Abuse Case May Have Fled The Country

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OKEECHOBEE (CBSMiami) – Authorities have hit a possible dead-end in the search for three people wanted for abusing cows at an Okeechobee County dairy farm.

"In two days we obtained warrants for four individuals," said Sheriff Noel Stephen. "We have only been able to locate one of those individuals on misdemeanor charges of kicking one of the cows. The other three individuals have absconded more than likely out of the country, the way that it looks right now based on our investigation."

Stephen was speaking Monday afternoon referring to the allegations of animal cruelty at Larson Dairy Farm.

Undercover video taken by the Animal Recovery Mission showed what appeared to be workers kicking and punching cows, among other things.

Another video exposed what appeared to be cruel practices at Burnham Dairy Farm.

The CEO of Florida's largest dairy cooperative announced on Monday that changes will be coming.

"They need to have the proper protocols," said Jim Sleeper, CEO of Southeast Milk. "The written procedures, whatever is in their heads that needs to be written down and not only written down, but transferred to those employees. Make sure that they have job descriptions. Make sure that they adhere to those particular aspects of how to milk cows, how to treat the cows fairly and so fourth."

Both Larson and Burnham Dairy Farms are on probation with a milk producers group.

Publix has also suspended its business with those dairy farms, for now.

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