A person out for a walk with children on Friday at Glenwood Lake Park in New Rochelle came across a grisly find at the north end of the park. The group came upon a decapitated goat head place on an aluminum tray and several mutilated chicken heads. This is the second such incident in a New Rochelle park over the past week. Last Sunday, a man walking his dog came across two decapitated sheep at Ward Acres Park.
New Rochelle police responded to the scene at Glenwood Lake Park. They again called in the SPCA. NRPD later removed the carcasses.
On Friday night police roped off an area in the woods between Bergholz Drive and Glenwood Lake Park. Officers on the scene declined to provide information on what they found but removed what appeared to be a dead animal from a spot about 25 feet into the woods. Calls to the desk sergeant at NRPD were not returned.
There was also an unconfirmed reports of decapitated pigeons found in a New Rochelle cemetery.
Talk of the Sound will get further information from the SPCA and NRPD tomorrow.
UPDATE: Talk of the Sound spoke today with Captain Joseph Schaller of the New Rochelle Police Department and Ken Ross, investigator for the SPCA. Both confirmed the details of the incident as reported by Talk of the Sound over the weekend. Schaller confirmed the location was in the woods across from 57 Bergholz Drive where officers were observed by Talk of the Sound removing the goat head and chicken heads. Schaller added that the animal parts were arranged on an aluminum tray in a yellow substance which appeared to be corn meal.
Neither the NRPD or SPCA thought the persons displaying these animal sacrifices were intending to frighten or intimidate residents.
"We live in a diverse community," said Schaller.
Ross told Talk of the Sound that while not common such instances of animal sacrifice was not unknown in Westchester.
In his line of work, Ross says he has had to acquire some familiarity with Sanataria and animal sacrifice. In some cases, the animal is sacrificed and eaten with the remains displayed in a forest or park area so the sacrifice can be seen by nature and appreciated. In other cases, the sacrifice is done to dispel some unwanted thing or attract something. Ross pointed out that the term Scapegoat relates to rituals in which a goat is literally made to leave a town or community, sometimes having "taken on" the sins of member of the community or some evil the community wishes to expel.
The BBC has a good article on Santeria which explains animal sacrifice:
The animals are killed by cutting the carotid arteries with a single knife stroke in a similar way to other religious methods of slaughter. Animals are cooked and eaten following all Santeria rituals (except healing and death rites, where the sickness is believed to pass into the dead animal). Eating the sacrificed animal is considered a sharing with the Orisha, who only consumes the animal's blood, while the worshippers eat the meat. Sacrificial animals include chickens (the most common), pigeons, doves, ducks, guinea pigs, goats, sheep, and turtles. The USA Supreme Court has stated (Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, 1993) that it is constitutional for Santeria worshippers to kill animals for such a ritual sacrifice.