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Who’s Beheading Animals in Sacramento?

Officials can’t figure out who’s behind a bizarre rash of animal mutilations in California’s capital

(Julie Ann Fineman/Corbis)
smithsonian.com

You might think of Sacramento as California’s capital—a sunny town dotted with trees and dominated by two big rivers. But the city now seems to be vying for the dubious title of “mysterious mutilated animal capital of America.” A rash of decapitated animal carcasses have been turning up around the city for months, and the mystery is still unsolved.

KXTV reports that the discoveries started in January, when a dead goat was found near a bag of headless chickens. And the story has only gotten stranger from there, with multiple decapitated goats, boxes of headless chickens and blood-soaked dollar bills—even a mutilated rabbit in a brown paper bag with tea candles.

Gina Knepp, who heads up Sacramento’s animal control, tells UPI that “local cults [and] religious groups” are potential suspects, but admits that there are no solid leads. Knepp has linked the bizarre mutilations with Santeria or Chinese New Year celebrations in the past. She told BuzzFeed News that “even if it’s an animal sacrifice as a religious practice, though it may be legal, it’s still required that it’s done in a humane way.”

While officials scratch their head and the public tries to settle their stomachs, others are taking matters into their own hands. The Humane Society of the United States announced Thursday that it would offer a $5,000 reward for information leading to the identification and arrest of the responsible party.

It’s unclear if the rash of animal beheadings will continue, or if the mystery of who’s behind the decapitations will ever be solved. But if you need to clear your brain of the mental images elicited by this series of strange crimes, here’s a cute chaser—micropigs picnicking in the U.K.

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