A handful of Petaluma High School students arrived to an unwelcome sight on Friday morning when a dead baby goat was found hanging by its hind legs from the fence at the baseball field.

"We think we know that it wasn't a Petaluma High School student," said Principal David Stirrat on Monday, adding, "I can't say too much, because this is an ongoing investigation."

Stirrat said the dead goat was found at around 7:30 a.m. on April 4, and was immediately removed from the premises. He contacted the police, who then called Petaluma Animal Services, which is now investigating the incident.

At law enforcement's request, the school did not notify students or parents about the incident "because it could hamper the investigation," Stirrat said.

But at least one student did see the carcass, and was horrified.

"I don't know how it got there or who put it there but, as a student, it disturbs me that another student would do such a disgusting thing," said Chaya Fried-Ungar via email. "I hope whoever did it gets caught soon. It just isn't right to do such a thing."

Stirrat wouldn't say why the administration believes the act was not perpetrated by a student at his high school, but added that the school is cooperating with the investigation.

"It's not the right time of the year for a senior prank — it's very random," he said of the incident.

Animal Control Officer Matt Scott confirmed that his department picked up the dead goat on Friday morning, but as of Monday had not yet determined the cause of the animal's death. He said he couldn't discuss the specifics of the case because the investigation is ongoing.

Scott said Animal Services is called anytime an animal carcass is found in "a precarious place," but couldn't recall seeing anything like the dead baby goat hanging from the fence.

"It's definitely a little weird," he said.

(Contact Emily Charrier at emily.charrier@ar guscourier.com)