A bag containing several animal heads and other materials was found recently in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, as a large investigation continues in the state into the alleged ritualistic slaughter of animals.

It was just the latest in a string of incidents that officials say goes back well over a year.

Wayne M. Kezirian, President and General Agent for the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said the organization “is, unfortunately, experienced with this type of animal cruelty and has sponsored a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to arrest and conviction.”

The RISPCA was notified by East Greenwich Police on February 25 that a plastic trash bag containing the animal heads was found near Water Street. The RISPCA said it was near a boat ramp, and that it may have floated to the area but that is not known for sure.

Inside the bag was a calf’s head, several rooster heads, a lamb head, and the head of a baby goat. Two drawings were also found inside the bag, one depicting what appears to be a letter “D” with a devilish-looking arrow through it, and a grinning figure that appears to be a rendering of the “comedy” mask often paired with a “tragedy” mask to represent the dramatic arts.

Kezirian said in addition to the animal remains, there were also “corn kernels and bits of what appears to be cloth or ribbon, which is consistent with other sites we have seen where animal remains were found in an apparent ritualistic setting.”

“Other locations from earlier instances were in the woods, and in more than one instance, in cemeteries,” he said.

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Last month, the RISPCA began investigating an incident in which several chickens were found brutally murdered in various spots, including in the area around Warwick City Hall, killed in a fashion that was “brutal and not consistent with humane killings that would meet religious exemptions,” the organization said, as reported by WPRI 12.

Some religions do require animal sacrifice as part of their beliefs, usually chickens, but practitioners are required to follow strict humane and sanitary procedures. These birds, though, were said to be “deliberately tormented and killed.”

Alan Alves is a retired Freetown Police detective who became nationally known as the “cult cop” investigating cult practices in the Freetown State Forest.

“Obviously, this is someone that doesn’t know what they’re doing,” Alves said of the bag of animal heads discovered in East Greenwich. “They’re mixing up some Satanism and some Spanish-type voodoo.”

Alves said the use of the goat is tied into Satanism, and the roosters are more akin to casting voodoo spells.

“Although usually, with chickens, they use the legs and to cast a spell they would tie certain artifacts to it,” he said.

Alves said that in his years of investigation into cult and spiritual beliefs, he had encountered animal heads before, but never a mixture of animals like this.

“I’ve never seen anything that combined the two,” he said. “The mixture is what is strange. It’s probably just dabblers, I would imagine, and nothing serious.”

It may not be serious in terms of religious beliefs, but animal cruelty is something the RISPCA is taking very seriously.

Anyone with information is asked to call RISPCA Special Agent Earl Newman at (401) 438-8150, extension 3.

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