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Police Suspect Santeria in Silver Lake Chicken Decapitations

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An e-mail to LAist and Curbed LA yesterday showed us a photo of decapitated chickens found along the Santa Monica Blvd in Silver Lake. "We dont know where they came from or how they got there, but they were in plastic bags, decomposing," the do gooder from the LA Neighborhood Cleanup Project wrote. "We are currently searching for an explanation. Any ideas? Is there an underground cock fighting arena in the neighborhood?"

As a Curbed commenters and Jenny Burman at Chicken Corner, an Echo Park blog, point out, it's probably a Santeria sacrifice. The LAPD speculates the same. "We've had stuff like that over the past three and a half years," explained Detetive Susan Brumagin of the Animal Cruelty Taskforce. "We've had several cases in parks where we find decapitated chic, doves, goats and some other small animals."

Brumagin said that sometimes you get priests who dispose of the animals properly, but in cases like this, it looks like someone did a "quick and dirty" sacrifice, possibly hoping to ward off something bad. Once in the Habor area, she investigated a number pigeons found hanging from a tree outside a courthouse. She later discovered it was a sacrifice done to help someone in a court.

Kapparot, a Jewish holiday where you twirl the chicken around until its neck breaks before giving it to the most poor family in congregation, is the second most common animal sacrifice found in Los Angeles.