Southold Police found a duffel bag filled with dead cats on an Orient beach Thursday evening, according to a press release.
Officers responded after receiving reports of a mysteriously strong odor coming from the bag, located on the beach near the Cross Sound Ferry.
A joint investigation is underway by police and the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Police said that seven cats were found inside the bag. SPCA Chief Roy Gross said an SPCA detective is currently investigating.
“We have one of our officers responding,” he said. “If it looks like foul play, we’ll set a reward.”
The SCPA is also offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction in the beheading and dumping of three goats in Calverton last month.
Officials believe those killings may be part of a ritualistic killing because some rituals use fruits and vegetables as components of religious rites.
In another possible ritualistic killing, a Town of Riverhead employee found plastic bags on Thursday containing three decapitated chickens dumped on railroad tracks. The SPCA does not believe the crimes were conducted by the same people, but they did say both were likely parts of religious rituals.