The carcasses of a headless goat and three chickens, also decapitated, were discovered in South Beach on Saturday. The animals were found along a seawall behind an affluent condominium complex in Miami Beach, Florida.
The goat and chickens were enclosed in a plastic bag that had apparently been disposed of in Biscayne Bay before washing up behind The Floridian luxury condos. Residents were understandably disturbed by the discovery and frustrated when police failed to remove the rotting animals.
The Miami Herald reports that Miami Beach Police declined involvement as the incident did not appear to intend harm against any specific individual. Bobby Hernandez, spokesperson for the police department, remarked on the event:
“If this happened on private property and appeared to be targeting someone, we would investigate. Unfortunately, this kind of thing does happen around here with all of the different cultures.”
It is speculated that the headless creatures were the victims of some form of animal sacrifice. Certain Afro-Caribbean religions practiced in the area, namely Santeria, have been known to use sacrificial animals on occasion for rituals.
Animal sacrifice is legal and protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution and evidence of the practice is occasionally found by authorities across Florida. However, such discoveries are rare in upscale neighborhoods like South Beach.
NBC News writes that Richard Couto, an animal activist and investigator with the nonprofit Animal Recovery Mission, removed the decapitated animals on Sunday after being notified. He spoke of his surprise at the location of the discovery:
“We are getting more calls of animals getting sacrificed in Miami Beach. But I have never found them in the middle of South Beach, just blocks from Ocean Drive.”
Couto, whose organization seeks to prevent the abuse and torture of animals used in rituals, remarked that it would be nearly impossible to investigate the origin of this particular case. At this time Florida officials have no plans look into the matter of the headless goat and chickens discovered in South Beach.