The Suffolk County SPCA said Thursday it is trying to stop what it believes is the ritualistic killing of animals.
Two discoveries last month of dead animals have prompted the animal protection group to offer a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for the ritualistic killing or sacrifice of animals, chief Roy Gross said.
On June 24, the carcasses of three beheaded adult goats were found on the Otis Pike Preserve, in Riverhead, on Line Road near Pole No. 5. Their heads, along with some fruits and vegetables, also were found nearby, Gross said.
Less than a week later, the SPCA found a dead rooster nailed to a tree in Islip, at the intersection of Spur Drive South and Freeman Avenue.
Police said the rooster's tongue and eyes were cut out and a candle was found nearby.
Gross said after the beheaded goats were found that the SPCA will investigate such "sacrificial killing and torturing" and that a religious belief is not a "justifiable purpose under state law.
The crime, a misdemeanor, is punishable by 1 year in prison and a $1,000 fine per animal, he said.
Anyone with information can call the Suffolk County SPCA at 631-382-7722. All calls will be kept confidential.