FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- The Fayetteville Police Department said Monday (Sept. 26) a group of juveniles that appears in a cell phone video shared on Facebook will not face animal cruelty charges after one of the boys appears to break open a beverage can by hitting it over a goat's head.
The video was posted on Sept. 22 on Facebook by Mollie Catherine Mullins and has since been shared nearly 825 times. It is unclear when the original video of the incident was taken, but Fayetteville police said they were made aware of it Sept. 15.
The video shows a group of boys standing around a goat. One of the boys is holding the goat by its neck while another boy hits the goat over the head with a can to break it open. The goat quickly runs away when it is let go.
Sgt. Craig Stout with Fayetteville police said a school resource officer took down a report about the incident, but the facts of the case did not meet the threshold of animal cruelty. Police contacted the goat's owner and said they found the animal was unharmed, according to Stout. Police have turned over their report to the juvenile prosecutor to determine if the teens should face misdemeanor animal cruelty or any underage drinking charges (CORRECTION: a previous version of this story stated the report was submitted to the Fayetteville city prosecutor).
Under the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure, an officer cannot make an arrest for these types of misdemeanor crimes without a warrant, unless the crime happened in the officer’s presence. According to a release, even if the event was on video, a warrant-less arrest cannot be made.
The goat, which has since been named Grace, is now at a baby goat sanctuary in New Jersey called Goats of Anarchy after someone contacted the sanctuary's founder, Leanne Lauricella, with the video.
Lauricella said she decided to share the video on the sanctuary's Facebook page because it was not the first time she has heard of a goat being abused at a college or high school party. She said she has heard of several such incidents.
“As soon as I did within an hour or two I just had an outpouring of emails and messages from people in that community offering assistance in offering names,” said Lauricella.
Lauricella said she was eventually able to get in contact with the goat's owner after sharing the video and they made a deal to get the animal to her. She said the owner had rented the goat to the group of boys in the video for $10.
Over the weekend, Lauricella said a volunteer flew to Arkansas to pick up the goat and then drove it to the sanctuary in New Jersey.
“When I have that baby in my arms late tonight you know it`s going to be a whole different story because now she`s my baby and having to watch what she went through is going to be very personal for me and it`s disgusting no matter whose animal it is,” she said.
Police said they could not comment on the details of the case because it involves juveniles.