Animals found dead in Rock Creek Park; believed to be part of ri - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Animals found dead in Rock Creek Park; believed to be part of ritualistic killing

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U.S. Park Police and the Washington Humane Society are investigating the discovery of a number of dead birds and a goat in Rock Creek Park.

They say the uniform way in which each animal was killed leads them to believe it was part of a ritualistic killing.

The bodies of a pygmy goat, a pigeon and seven chickens were all found with their throats slit. They had been dumped near a makeshift walking path just off of 17th Street in Northwest D.C.

Someone walking through the area found them Tuesday afternoon and contacted authorities. Police believe the animals were killed elsewhere, then dumped there, likely Monday night or early Tuesday morning, before the snow began to fall.

Neighbors say this isn't the first time that animal carcasses have turned up in the area.

Scott Giacoppo with the Washington Humane Society says investigators believe it is part of a Santeria ritual. Santeria is a religion which he says involves praying to different gods and using animal sacrifices.

Veterinarians are performing a necropsy to determine whether the animals were tortured before they were killed, which would be a crime.

Whoever is responsible could also be cited for dumping the bodies and possessing livestock inside the city.

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