TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The pictures are difficult to look at. They depict several chickens, a duck and a goat, heads chopped off, lying at the north side of the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
The animals were found just east of the boat ramp. Piles of fruit, arranged neatly, were also left behind. It may all be part of a Santeria ritual.
The Causeway isn’t the only spot animals have been located. Along the Hillsborough River in Tampa, Angela Soiferman showed News Channel 8 where somebody left a dead chicken in a box. She said this has been going on for a decade.
“That’s really gross and usually the animals will be in a plastic bag or a box. Sometimes we’ll just find a dead animal but it’s not like it just got hit and is laying there. It’s been placed there, you can tell,” Soiferman said.
Fruits and flowers are sometimes left behind. “You think, ‘Who would do that? And why and what’s the point of it?’” Soiferman adked.
To learn more about Santeria, News Channel 8 asked a practicing a “Santero” as they’re called, about the dead animals on the causeway. Gilberto Gonzalez practices Santeria.
“Every ceremony that we actually do, we actually clean right after and we make that everything is, ya know, as neat as possible,” Gonzalez said.
He blames the mess on the Causeway on people who don’t know what they are doing. Killings, he explains, are done to heal the sick.
“Sacrificing itself of animals is only to transport the energy of life. So it’s something that you shouldn’t do on a regular basis. It shouldn’t be something that you do just for fun,” Gonzalez explained.
Tampa police want to know who is responsible. “We don’t know if this is a prank. We don’t know if this is some kind of religious ceremony. We know that it could be a safety and a health hazard,” Tampa Police Department spokesman Steve Hegarty said.