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Students disciplined, cited after Ganesha High School goat incident

POMONA >> Officials say they are wrapping up the investigation into the recent death of a goat found spray-painted at Ganesha High School on May 20, which has sparked national outrage on social media.

Pomona police in collaboration with investigators from the Inland Valley Humane Society are in the process of concluding their investigation, according to Mark Gluba, deputy city manager for the city of Pomona.

In published reports, the unnamed goat’s owner said a group of teens abducted the adult goat, named Baby, from her property May 19 and brought it to the school.

The next day, the goat was found on campus “tagged” but still alive, Gluba said authorities told him. It died May 27 at Western University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Pomona.

The incident has animal rights supporters calling for stiff punishment for those responsible.

“Pomona Police Department and Inland Valley Humane Society representatives have collaborated to investigate the incident, including allegations of animal cruelty, vandalism, theft, trespassing and other potential charges,” Gluba said. “Information from these investigations will be provided to the District Attorney’s Office for consideration of prosecution.”

Among the culprits were students who were disciplined at the school level, including prohibiting some of them from walking at commencement last week, Gluba said he was told.

In addition, five individuals, Gluba said, will receive citations for animal cruelty from the Inland Valley Humane Society separate from any action the District Attorney’s Office might take.

“There were more suspects of various involvement,” Gluba said. “There were investigation allegations that included animal cruelty, theft, trespassing and vandalism. That’s not to say every suspect committed all of those violations.”

Pomona Unified issued a statement shortly after the incident, saying the safety of students and staff on campus will remain a priority.

“As a high school ranked in the top 4th percentile in CA by U.S. News & World Report, we take our role as a model academic high school very seriously and we do not condone injustices toward people or animals,” according to the district statement from spokesman Oliver Unaka. “Additionally, while we cannot comment on a pending investigation, please be very clear that we have a zero-tolerance policy for deviations to our academic and safety standards.”

Despite information portrayed on various social media outlets regarding injuries to the goat, Gluba said the investigation uncovered the goat’s death was a result of natural causes. Gluba said investigators believe the goat had suffered from tumorous growths.

A petition to help bring justice to the students responsible for the incident, called Justice for Baby, was placed on change.org by Melissa Scarcia of Rancho Cucamonga. It had been signed by 8,065 people as of Wednesday. An email sent to Scarcia was not immediately returned for comment.

The comments with the most likes on the Justice For Baby petition site went to Bee Andez of Pomona who wrote, “Animals have no voice.”

“I am sure she was begging for help in her own way,” Andez wrote. “Heartbreaking. These awful kids need to be held responsible and so should their parents.”

“Animal abuse (awareness) is close to our hearts, but it’s not something we can act on in an official capacity,” said Ed Castillo, chief of Woodland Hills-based Golden State Lifeguards, which tweeted about the incident. “We are very outspoken in that regard. If we see injustice, we’re going to do something about it.”