Goat Decapitation Video Prompts SPCA Investigation in Louisiana

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Louisiana authorities are looking for a group of men suspected of decapitating a live goat with a machete in a "horrific" incident caught on video.

The gruesome cell phone video shows a group of young men standing in a circle around a plastic swimming pool in a backyard, according to the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The men then tie a rope from a goat’s neck and hang it from an object above the pool. One man decapitates the goat with a "machete-like sword" while the others cheer and record the act with their phones, according to the Louisiana SPCA.

"This young man in one fell swoop just very quickly cuts its head off — it’s really horrific to see," Ana Zorrilla, CEO of the Louisiana SPCA, told NBC News. "Then to see the other young men standing around the pool, laughing and taking video, that is almost even more shocking."

The Louisiana SPCA received the video on Tuesday from Tulane University in New Orleans after it began circulating among its students, Zorrilla said. After offering a $3,000 reward for information, they received a tip Wednesday saying the body of a goat was in a backyard of a home a few blocks from the university. But New Orleans and Tulane University Campus police on the scene found nothing to link the property to the incident in the video.

A university official said there's "no evidence to suggest that this video involves or is related to any member of the Tulane community." University spokesman Michael Strecker told NBC News that the tip "proved unfounded" and was the only information supposedly connecting the video to the university.

"There is no evidence of when it was shot and where it was shot," he added. "It could be anywhere."

Zorilla, of the Louisiana SPCA, said that authorities are investigating the incident for felony animal cruelty.

"We’re trying to get the full picture of what exactly happened to determine if this does fit the state definition,' she said.

Authorities are offering a $13,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the men in the video.

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