WEST POINT —
Four juveniles charged with stealing and killing a family’s pet goat in West Point remained in detention Friday night as new details of the incident emerged.
The four males, ages 14-15, are charged with felony theft of property and cruelty to animals, which is a misdemeanor. Major Scott Clay, of the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office, said he doesn’t expect additional arrests but the investigating is continuing.
“We’re still investigating because this was such a heinous crime. We’ve taken a report from the owners and they want to press it as far as they can, and that’s what we’re going to do. If you saw the video, you would want to prosecute to the fullest,” Clay said.
According to Clay, the video shows the goat was bound and slammed to the ground and then dropped off a bridge and pulled back up several times.
“I’ve been with the sheriff’s office nearly 22 years and this is one of the most horrific animal abuse cases we’ve seen. At this point we don’t why they did this other than just meanness,” Clay said. “When you hear a goat crying it sounds a lot like a human child. You can hear that on the video.”
Investigators say the female goat was accustomed to people and was the smallest of several that the family owned. The dark brown goat was believed to have been a pygmy goat and about six months old.
“It was probably the easiest one to catch and used to being around people. For a lot of people, goats can become a pet just like a dog. They become a part of the family,” Clay said.
The juveniles charged in the crime shared video of the goat’s death with other students, who reported the crime because of the intensity of the violence, Clay said.
The crime occurred at a small bridge at the intersection of County Roads 1216 and 1218, not far from the owners’ home. Investigators believe the goat was stolen late last Friday night or early Saturday morning.
“There’s a lot of concern from the community about this. We’ve received calls all day, including some from far away as Florida,” Clay said.
The major said he is not aware of other animals being stolen in the West Point area. He did receive a call, however, from a resident in another area of the county who believes one of her’s had been stolen.
The next step in the legal process for the juveniles will be a hearing in Cullman County District Court.
David Palmer may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 256-734-2131, ext. 213.