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Decapitated animals wash up in Miami

Jan. 7, 2013 at 2:15 PM

MIAMI, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Residents of a ritzy Miami condo complex said they were aghast to find several decapitated animals floating in the ocean near their building.

The animals, three chickens and a goat, were likely killed as part of a ritual Santeria or other religious ceremony, experts said. The animals were left to float in the ocean rotting for more than a day after police said it wasn't a criminal case -- ritual animal sacrifices are protected under the First Amendment -- and sanitation workers didn't respond to residents' complaints.

"I don't understand this -- the mentality is savage," said Kathryn Bookstaver, an 11-year resident of The Floridian condominium told the Miami Herald Sunday. "It's disgusting."

Nelson Reyes, a Miami police officer who teaches a class at the police academy on Afro-Caribbean religions, said the killing of chickens is generally done as a cleansing act. Killing goats, rams or other four-legged animals is generally done as a plea for some sort of benefit.

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