In a disturbing incident, a pregnant goat was allegedly gang-raped by eight men last week in a village in the northern Indian state of Haryana. The seven-year-old animal died a day after the assault, police told local media.

The accused were charged under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which prohibits “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with man, woman or animal” and under the Animal Cruelty Act at a local police station in Mewat district. However, police are yet to arrest those behind the horrific act. 

“Our team is investigating the case and has recorded the statement of the goat’s owner, who allegedly caught the accused in the act. We are also in the process of recording the statements of other eyewitnesses and villagers to know the exact sequence of the crime and arrests will be made once we get all the details,” Nazneen Bhasin, superintendent of police, said Sunday morning.

According to local newspaper Hindustan Times, the owner said his goat went missing from its shed Wednesday night after which he and other villagers started looking for it.

“It was around 11 p.m. when I heard some noise and went out. The gate of the shed was open. I panicked and raised an alarm, as four of my goats had been stolen in the past and this was the only one left. While we were looking around, we found three men sexually assaulting my goat,” 27-year-old Aslup Khan, a truck driver, said.

Khan said they nabbed those who were assaulting the goat and beat them up. Three of the eight men accused in the case have a criminal record and were jailed in the past for allegedly stealing motorcycles and cattle.

“My goat was injured and lying on the ground. It was not even able to walk. I took it home and applied medicines on the wounds on its head and nose. It did not eat anything the next day and was lying as if it was paralysed,” Khan said.

Khan also said he was surprised to see one of the accused roaming freely the next day of the assault. The accused reportedly mocked the owner over the condition of the goat.

“He came to me on Thursday and threatened to steal the goat. He laughed and said that he and his friends had a nice time that night, which made me furious. I thrashed him after which he fled the spot,” Khan said.

Despite efforts to save the goat, the animal died the next day after the assault. Charges against the men were reportedly filed after a veterinary surgeon conducted an autopsy of the animal. Dr. Ramvir Bhardwaj, veterinary surgeon of animal husbandry, in the area said the goat died of brain haemorrhage.

“It was 50 weeks pregnant. During the post-mortem examination, it was found that there was blood in her windpipe. Samples of its vaginal swabs were sent to the forensic science laboratory,” Bhardwaj said.

The shocking incident sparked condemnation, with several people speaking out against the disturbing incident. Bollywood actor Farhan Akhtar also spoke out strongly about the unnatural sex with a goat. 

Another similar incident took place last year when a 34-year-old man was accused of raping a female puppy which led to her death in Delhi's Narayana area. Medical examination of animal had confirmed the cause of death to be excessive bleeding from private parts.