TAMPA — Eleven skinned and decapitated animal carcasses found in a trash bin appear to be of goats butchered for food but illegally dumped, authorities said Tuesday.
The carcasses were discovered Saturday afternoon behind a pizza restaurant at 20305 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. The animals were skinned and decapitated and their feet were removed, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
A veterinarian for the county's Animal Services, Dr. Isabelle Roese, said Tuesday that the butchering was consistent with food preparation and that there weren't signs of animal cruelty.
Animal Services Sgt. Pam Perry said the investigation now will focus on who illegally dumped the carcasses.
A witness had reported a box truck that may have dumped the animals. Investigators traced the license plate and found the truck had been leased. Perry said the driver who had leased it may be from a neighboring county.
Further testing, including bone comparison, will be done to confirm the animals were goats, said Dr. Bill Zingalie, another vet with Animal Services. Blue twine was wrapped on one leg of each carcass, consistent with hanging for butchering. Perry said professional butchers are aware of the laws and proper ways to dispose of the waste.
"The manner in which they were dumped is illegal," Perry said. "Obviously, to put them in a Dumpster behind a public restaurant is horrible."