Authorities suspect three chickens and a pig were slaughtered on a Jersey Shore beach as part of a religious sacrifice.
The remains of the animals were discovered on a beach in Hazlet on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals chief Victor “Buddy” Amato tells the Asbury Park Press the chickens were decapitated and the 60-pound pig's throat was slit.
“It’s Santeria, without a doubt, but as far as I am concerned, whether it’s Santeria or some other ritual, it was definitely a sacrifice,” Amato told the paper. “There was a makeshift altar and candles in the same vicinity.”
Santeria is a fusion of religious beliefs that originated in West Africa and the Caribbean.
Amato is treating it as a case of animal cruelty. He says it's one thing to slaughter an animal to eat and another to leave it to rot on a beach.
“…People are going down there to the beach with families so that makes this so wrong on so many levels,” Amato told the paper.