For the second time this year, animal rights advocates in New Orleans are investigating the beheading of a goat.
The Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Wednesday that it received a cellphone video this week that shows a group of at least five young men decapitating a goat over a small plastic swimming pool with a “machete-like sword.”
“The video is horrific,” said Alicia Haefele, a spokeswoman for the organization.
The video was not date-stamped, but Haefele said, “We definitely think it’s recent.” She said the Louisiana SPCA learned of the existence of the video late Monday and obtained a copy of it the following day.
The beheading took place in what appeared to be a backyard. Haefele said the sources of the video believe the beheading occurred at a residence Uptown.
Acting on a tip, investigators went to a Tulane University fraternity house in the 700 block of Broadway on Wednesday afternoon in search of the slain goat. The residents were uncooperative at first but ultimately allowed a search of the backyard, which did not turn up “any evidence linking to the cellphone video,” Haefele said.
“At this time we have no evidence to suggest that this video involves or is related to any member of the Tulane community,” said Michael Strecker, a university spokesman.
The SPCA did not release the 12-second cellphone video but described the “extremely graphic” clip this way:
“While the men stand in a circle around the plastic swimming pool, string is tied around the goat’s neck and hanged from an above object. One man then beheads the goat while the other men cheer in the background and record the felony act with cellphones.
“Once beheaded, the goat’s legs continue to move while the body lies in the swimming pool and the head still hanging from the string. A few seconds later, the man who beheaded the goat picks up the body and the video clip ends.”
The SPCA announced a $13,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible.
Haefele said the slaughter of the goat did not appear to be related to a separate goat beheading that occurred earlier this year at Brechtel Park in Algiers. In that case, a 3-month-old pygmy goat named Calvin was found decapitated. Its head and its 3-month-old brother, Jack, were missing.
That case remains under investigation, and no new leads have been generated.
“We don’t believe that these are at all related,” Haefele said of the two beheadings. “But we’re wanting to know now whether this is painting a bigger picture that there is an issue about how people are treating goats in our area.”
Haefele acknowledged that the video leaves unanswered the question of whether the goat was cooked after it was slaughtered — actually an important legal question — and whether it was abused before the footage began.
“We don’t know what happened prior to the video or after,” she said. “Did they slaughter the animal to cook it, which, as awful as it sounds, is not a felony if they cooked it. It’s not illegal to kill livestock for food.”
The Louisiana SPCA asked anyone with information about the beheading to call (504) 368-5191, ext. 100, or to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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