A severed goat head was discovered in Prospect Park on Monday in NYC.
The animal body part was found by David Rabig who was walking a dog in a wooded area about 9 a.m. He reported it to park officials.
Today’s head was found by the park’s Lincoln Road entrance this morning, adorned with ear tags suggesting that it—along with a body, presumably?—came from a live animal market or slaughterhouse, and is not an escaped house pet or someone’s ironic lawnmower.
Decapitated goats have popped up in various locations over the years, and are generally assumed to be part of Santeria rituals—animal sacrifice often commemorates “life events” like birth, marriage and death. While it is constitutional for practitioners of Santeria to sacrifice animals, the law requires remains be properly discarded, which does not mean flinging them on the ground for discovery by area children chasing soccer balls or couples posing for wedding photos.
It certainly looks deliberately placed at the base of this tree.
Disturbingly, this isn’t the first time a goat’s head has been found. Other animal parts were also found in the park’s history. Severed Goat Head Discovered in Prospect Park
Prospect Park frequenter and wildlife enthusiast Mary Beth Artz said the goat found four years ago was “possibly used for Santeria or other religious rituals.”
“A few years back cow tongues were found nailed to trees,” she said via email. “Chickens are often seen, both dead and alive — the alive, often wandering the park until rescued.”
Workers in the park on Tuesday said they’ve made other animal-related discoveries in the park in the past several years.
“They dump goats, chickens, dogs,” said an employee who’s worked in the park more than 25 years. “I remember back in the 80s we had to get a dog out of the lake. They just dumped the head. We never found a body.”
If the goat head was related to Santeria, it was a blood sacrifice. Followers of the religion are told to make the sacrifice of only farm animals as ethical as possible. A blood sacrifice is a required part of any initiation.
Prospect Park is a 585-acre park in Brooklyn, designed by landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who also designed Central Park. The park features meadows, a lake, geologic features, and Brooklyn’s only forest.