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Goat decapitation near Calloway is second incident in area

A rural Callaway man came home to an unpleasant discovery Wednesday afternoon -- someone had cut the head off a stray goat he had been caring for. Andrew Osten reported the incident at about 5 p.m. at his 6-acre farm few miles west of Callaway. I...

A rural Callaway man came home to an unpleasant discovery Wednesday afternoon -- someone had cut the head off a stray goat he had been caring for.

Andrew Osten reported the incident at about 5 p.m. at his 6-acre farm few miles west of Callaway.

It was the second goat decapitation in western Minnesota in about a month, and a disgusted Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon said it was the work of "a very sick individual or individuals."

The goat was not the victim of an animal attack, as its head had been severed with a knife or blade of some sort, Gordon said. The head hasn't been found.

Osten said the goat wandered onto his property about three months ago, and he took it around to other farmers in the area, but nobody claimed it.

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It was tied up near the barn on a dog leash, and Osten discovered the body when he went to get a lawn mower out to mow before it rained.

Osten said he has other livestock and never named the goat, although his wife and son may have. "To me it was just a goat," he said. It was killed sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon.

"It could have happened overnight, but I'm not sure. It could also have been in the daytime, we aren't always around."

Whoever did it appeared to know what he was doing. The cut was very clean, "no extra muscle or anything out of place," Osten said, and there was very little blood on the ground, or on the body.

"Usually when you cut something's throat or jugular vein, it pumps all the blood out of them," he said. "But chest, body, legs, there was no blood."

The goat was about the size of a yellow lab, and Osten is surprised whoever did it didn't just take the whole animal.

The goat had been tethered in the yard in partial view of a public road, and Osten doesn't believe the goat was killed because someone was angry at him or his family. Nothing else was harmed, missing or out of place on the farmstead, he said.

"It's just one of those freaky things," he said. 'Tis the (Halloween) season, maybe it has something to do with that."

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Osten buried the goat's body on his farmstead.

Last month, about 44 miles south in rural New York Mills, another goat on private property was found decapitated. Authorities there also ruled out an animal attack, and the head wasn't found.

Gordon said the case is unusual and that there haven't been any reports of animal mutilations in Becker County for a number of years.

Whoever killed the goat can be charged with animal cruelty and property crime, Gordon said. Anyone who has information about the incident is asked to call the sheriff's department at 847-2661.

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