"Nobody expected to find what they did," said Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan.
A gold-leafed animal skull was on display on a coffee table and a 10-inch animal vertebra sat on a fireplace mantle. They also found a necklace that appeared to be made out of canine teeth along with several knives and machetes.
In the kitchen were found two more canine skulls along with a drawer of animal bones, four occult books and a workbench with gold-leafing materials.
Inside the freezer was a dog's head.
What they found in the backyard was even more sickening. A fire pit contained charred dog fragments and chicken parts were hanging from a tree. Two live chickens were also found and rescued by the SPCA.
"I've never seen anything like this in my life," said Rich Britton, a spokesman for the Chester County SPCA.
"We would describe this as just macabre. When you go into a living room and see gold-leafed skulls of dogs, a vertebrae of a dog, and go into the freezer and see the head of a dog, for starters, you know this isn't your ordinary scenario."
The two people taken into custody face numerous charges.
Believe it or not, animal sacrifice is perfectly legal in America. In 1993, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in the case of Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. Hialeah that sacrificing animals in the name of religion is protected under the First Amendment. Since then, efforts to curb or restrict animal sacrifice have not been very successful. For example, in the summer of 2009 the right of a Texas Santeria priest to sacrifice animals (usually goats) was upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Aside from individuals who engage in animal sacrifice while practicing black magic, this gruesome act is particularly associated with Santeria, a syncretic religion of West African and Caribbean origin. It's very prevalent among peoples of black Hispanic or Caribbean descent. Some of the rituals are said to involve draining the blood from the animals and drinking it, then using the skull and feet as part of their altars.
I don't know about you, but if police made a discovery like this in my backyard, I'd be seriously concerned and would definitely get out my blessed salt and draw a nice big circle of God's protection around my home.
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