A volunteer who helps students care for farm animals at a Detroit alternative high school for pregnant girls made a gruesome discovery when she came in to feed them after the school had been closed on Friday. She found that over a dozen animals—including eight chickens, five goats and one cat—had been either beaten to death or had their throats slashed at Catherine Ferguson Academy on Detroit’s west side. According to Asenath Andrews, the school principal, only one chicken and one cat were still alive.
“It looks like some crazy person had gone crazy on the animals,” school principal Asenath Andrews told Detroit police, after the discovery. “They were fine when we left.”
The farm, which is attached to Catherine Ferguson Academy, and operated by the Wayne County Regional Service Agency, sits in the middle of Detroit. The school campus takes up two entire city blocks and is completely fenced in. It consists of the large school building, several arts buildings and a couple of barns. The farm animals were kept in a pen at the rear of the school.
The pregnant students at this charter school work the farm--milking the goats, making cheese, pasteurizing the milk and growing vegetables, Andrews said. She said the students sell their products, including eggs, at Detroit's Eastern Market. The farm has garnered national attention, once being featured in an article in O, The Oprah Magazine, about urban farming in Detroit.
Principal Andrews is concerned about the impact this senseless, vicious attack on helpless animals could have on the students. The school also enrolls young mothers with children less than three years of age, and 2-year-olds help feed the goats.
“I’m worried about the girls,” said Andrews. “The animals belong to the girls. The girls belong to me...I’m worried about their safety.”
She is also worried the young women will feel a loss of security. "This is a place that's safe for them, no matter what the rest of the world is like," she told the Detroit Free Press. "No matter how crazy everything gets, you get to school, school's where we can help you."
"It was a pretty gruesome scene," Mark Ramos, senior investigator for the Michigan Humane Society, told CNN.com. "I can't comment on much more because it's still an open investigation, but it was pretty gruesome."
Michigan Humane Society has taken over the investigation. They also removed two additional chickens which were found injured and cleared the dead animals and evidence from the scene Friday They will be trying to determine the motive and weapons used in the attack and whether charges can be filed, Ramos told CNN.com.