Fearing a biological hazard, doctors from the Bombay Veterinary College (BVC), Parel refused to do a post-mortem on the four goats that died after they were seized from the dhow MSV Yusufi on April 4, officials from the college said.
The doctors were apprehensive that the goats might have been carrying infectious diseases.
The coast guard had raided the dhow off the Mumbai coast. The Yellow Gate police had seized 436 crates of imported cigarettes worth Rs. 2 crore along with 30 goats.
Of these, four had died in mysterious circumstances over the past few weeks. Doctors from the veterinary college had also found a suspicious substance in three other goats, samples of which were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL).
Doctors from the veterinary college said they were sceptical of carrying out a post-mortem on the animals after the police informed them that they had been seized from a dhow that might have been used for smuggling.
“When livestock is imported, they are tested medically to check for any diseases they might be carrying. These goats might have been used as a medium to spread diseases and we did not want to take a chance,” said Dr AM Paturkar, associate dean, BVC.
Dr Paturkar said the college had written to the police asking them to approach the animal husbandry department to authorise a quarantine officer. “When the other goats were scanned in the X-ray, the quarantine officer was present,” added Paturkar.
The four goats that died were not subjected to a post-mortem to ascertain if any substance had been hidden in them.
“Animals can be used as carriers of zoonotic diseases such as anthrax, rabies and plague that are transmitted from animals to humans. Eventually, there was no formal request to carry out post-mortem on the goats. One of them was also in a totally putrefied condition,” said Dr DP Kadam, assistant professor of pathology, BVC.