Animal Recovery Mission [A.R.M.]: A Family Affair

When researching your enemy, never leave any stone unturned. Yesterday I spent hours poring over news stories, trying to draw connections between the officers of the Animal Recovery Mission, which is, as far as I’m concerned, a terrorist organization that has declared war against the Diaspora and all connected indigenous, and now globalized, African-based religions. I’m all for animal welfare; I’m the proud father of two wonderful dogs, and have cared for animals all my life. Olódumare teaches us that animals have their orí, and with that, their place and purpose in creation. But a few weeks ago, the leader of A.R.M., Richard Couto, vowed to wipe us out and our right to practice our faith in peace. That, my readers, makes him our enemy.

By accident, I stumbled across an obituary connecting many members of A.R.M. into one big, happy family. That’s right: Animal Recovery Mission is a family business, although they don’t make that known to the press. With Richard Couto’s criminal activities (and why he hasn’t been arrested and prosecuted as a criminal, I have no idea) that makes them, in my humble opinion, a crime family.

Click this hyperlink to read the obituary I found: click here.

On September 26, 2014, Michelle (Couto) Tormey, 45, of Wrentham, MA and Portsmouth, RI passed away. Mrs. Tormey was the sister of Richard Couto. If you read the article carefully, it identifies not only Richard Couto as her brother, but also Kristine Lowney as her sister. This is the same Kris Lowney listed as an officer of Animal Recovery Mission; not only did they shorten her name on the official document to protect her identity, but her maiden name is Couto. She married a Rhode Island cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Mark X. Lowney, thus the Lowney name. Maia Chrupcala is named as another of her sisters; however, on later research for verification I discovered that Maia Chrupcala is, more than likely, a cousin of the Couto family. Her mother’s name was Peggy Couto.

As for the other officers named over the years, I’m still working on finding out if there are family connections. They all seem to hail back to Rhode Island, so I’m sure there are very strong connections between them. There also seem to be ties between the Couto family and the race-horse and thoroughbred industry, but I’m still working on those connections. With all these things available as public record if one is willing to put in the time to dig it up, I can’t help but wonder “why” all the secrecy. If this is a family-based animal welfare organization, why not publicize it as such?

There are so many questions for which we need answers. Give me time – I’ll find them all.

Following the Web of A.R.M.

To fight the enemy, one must know the enemy. For two weeks, I have researched Animal Recovery Mission from several angles, and what I found is an amazing web. We must know every strand. For those who want to know who’s involved in these organizations for purposes of prayer and ebó, I’m putting their information here. One thing about being in a public nonprofit – your information becomes public. The links from which I obtained this information is included; just click on the hyperlink of the organization or name to follow the thread yourself.

Animal Recovery Mission

They are a Florida Not for Profit Corporation, listed as Animal Recovery Mission, Inc. They filed paperwork on January 28, 2010. Their principle address is at 927 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, Fl. 33140. They list their mailing address as PO Box 403344, Miami Beach, Fl. 33140. Currently, their officers are as follows:

Richard Couto [Director]

927 LINCOLN RD

MIAMI BEACH, FL 33139


Kris Lowney [Treasurer]

PO BOX 403344

MIAMI BEACH, FL 33140

 

Maia Chrupcala [Vice President]

PO BOX 403344

MIAMI BEACH, FL 33140

 

Rachel Ann Taylor [Chief Financial Officer]

PO Box 403344

Miami Beach, FL 33140

While these are the four current officers, the listing has changed since their filing in 2010. To understand the scope and reach of A.R.M. today, I had to pull the Florida Department of State Division of Corporation listings for this organization each year they have been in operation. What I found was interesting, and in some ways disturbing.

2010 Records

These list Richard Couto as the only officer for the organization.

2011 Records

This lists Richard Couto as the only officer and the director of A.R.M.

2012 Records

This lists Richard Couto and Kris Lowney as officers. Couto is the director and Lowney is an officer. This year we find a new name added to the mix: Ken Ogrodnick, listed as an officer.

2013 Records

Now there are four officers listed: Richard Couto (Director), Maia Chrupcala (Vice-President), Kris Lowney (Treasurer), and Ken Ogrodnick (Officer). 

2014 Records

The officers listed remain the same as in 2013. 

2015 Records

For 2015 there are only three officers listed: Richard Couto (Director), Maia Chrupcala (Vice-President), and Kris Lowney (Treasurer). Ken Ogrodnick is not listed as an officer for this year.2016 Records

The same three officers are listed: Richard Couto (Director), Maia Chrupcala (Vice-President), and Kris Lowney (Treasurer). The date they filed this document is March 7, 2016. But on April 4, 2016, an amendment was filed (click this link) giving us our current officers: Richard Couto (Director), Kris Lowney (Treasurer), Maia Chrupcala (Vice President), and Rachel Ann Taylor (Chief Financial Officer).

Over the next few weeks, I will blog about the people involved in A.R.M. and their varied special and business interests. We need to know our enemies, people. I intend to help you know them and every nook and cranny of their lives.

“Up in Arms” Against A.R.M.: What Can We Do?

Family: every day I’m getting emails about the recent threats by Animal Recovery Mission to bring an end to our religion by attacking one of our most essential sacraments, animal offerings. False propaganda and misleading photographs are being used to manipulate emotions; and in the process, the organization is generating obscene amounts of cash and support from their dishonest rhetoric. Their leader, Richard Couto, is a master of manipulation and marketing. With this attack against our rights gearing up, aleyos, aborishas, and olorishas are asking me, “What can we do?”

First, I need everyone to realize that in this war, I’m not a leader. I’m a follower. I have chosen to follow the lead of Oba Ernesto Pichardo, who is THE expert on defending our religious rights. He has fought wars like this before, winning against people greater than Richard Couto. I need everyone writing me to follow him on Facebook at the following URL:

https://www.facebook.com/oba.pichardo?pnref=story

If you are not following Pichardo, then you are not receiving your information from the one man most qualified to lead us in the battle. Please understand that Oba Pichardo and I are not friends [but I do hope that changes in the coming years – he is brilliant, and I love surrounding myself with brilliant people]. I am not associated with the C.L.B.A. Until recently, I have not interacted or spoken with the oriaté in five years. But he is the expert on these matters. If we are going to have our best chance, we need to take our cues from the best.

Second, I need everyone to realize that information is power. Not everyone has the time or the luxury to be politically active, but everyone needs to take the time to be informed. I’ll be using my blog to spread relevant information that Pichardo wants shared with the community, and I’ll be using both my Facebook page and my blog to spread relevant information that I find on the internet regarding A.R.M. and other animal “rights” organizations. Me? I devote all my time to research, study, and teaching, and I have been up until 5:00 A.M. most nights following financial threads on these organizations that both scare and anger me. Try to spend at least 15 minutes of your internet time searching and researching information about A.R.M. Look at the people he bullies. Read what is in the news relevant to our rights and our fights. Be informed – EVERYONE needs to be informed.

Finally, I need everyone to realize that prayer works. Pray for the safety of Oba Ernesto Pichardo as he prepares to lead us in this war. Pray that he has the abundance, the workers and helpers, the knowledge/wisdom/guidance he needs, and, more importantly, the health he needs to see this battle to its end. Since the 1993 SCOTUS ruling that protected our rights, I know of no one who has apprenticed with him on how to continue his historical and groundbreaking work. Since 1993 he has stood alone to save and protect us from prejudice and oppression. Love him; don’t love him; criticize him; praise him – I don’t care what you do or what you think of the babalorisha. But he is our best chance; he is the expert; he is the one who did ebó so all of us could practice our faith in safety. We need to do all we can to protect him and support him for this next battle.

With all of these things said, Oba Ernesto Pichardo has my full support in this fight. I know nothing about protecting our rights. I know next to nothing about the court system and how it works. Animal Recovery Mission has strong ties and deep pockets; and Richard Couto has aligned himself with those who have power in this world. He has partnered with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. He has ties with the National Humane Society and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He is well-connected nationwide. These people have lawyers on retainer. They have marketing specialists. They have lobbyists. The have politicians and lawmakers at the local, state, and national levels. They have ties to the media.

We, however, are the keepers of the sacred stones. We have ashé. We have Elegguá at our feet, orisha on our heads, and Olódumare in heaven watching over us. We have the ancestors who lived and who knew oppression. Worldly power is ephemeral. Spiritual power is eternal. We can win this. We will win this. We have no choice but to win this.