White powder is caked on the goat’s nostrils in the shaky, dimly lit video.
Then, as one man holds the goat’s mouth open, another dumps whiskey down the animal’s throat, the video shows. The men had inserted the white powder – cocaine, according to authorities – into the animal’s nostrils moments before force feeding whiskey to the animal, investigators said.
One man has been arrested in the case, and Georgia police are still looking for two others. The first suspect was only caught after the men started sharing the video of the abuse, and a tipster decided to share the video with authorities, according to the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office said. Authorities called the video “disturbing.”
Sergio Palomares-Guzman, 28, was arrested on Thursday at a ranch in Grayson, Ga., where he worked as a horse trainer, the sheriff’s office announced Friday. The ranch is located just northeast of Atlanta.
Palomares-Guzman has been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, the sheriff’s office said.
“It’s hard to imagine how anyone can harm an innocent animal, but it happens every day,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook. “It’s up to us to seize every opportunity we're given to stop it, which is exactly what our sheriff's investigators did when this disturbing video was brought to their attention.”
Palomares-Guzman is being held at the Gwinnett County Jail and has a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer, authorities said, which means the agency has probable cause to believe the suspect could be removed from the country. Palomares-Guzman is being held without bond.
In the video, Palomares-Guzman is the man holding the goat’s horns as others fill its nostrils with cocaine and then holding the goat’s mouth open as the liquor is poured in, investigators said.
During his Thursday arrest, Palomares-Guzman told investigators that the incident happened Jan. 2, the sheriff’s office said. The man who owned the ranch where the arrest occurred — and who had employed Palomares-Guzman — told investigators he had no clue the incident with the goat had happened.
The sheriff’s office said investigators believe another suspect and a third man who can be seen in the video live in North Carolina.
Veterinarians at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter gave the goat “a clean bill of health,” the sheriff’s office said. The goat is now up for adoption, after Palomares-Guzman waived his ownership rights over the animal.