Beheaded Animals Divide Gables Neighborhood

June 8, 2007

Source: CBS News Miami

(CBS4) CORAL GABLES The sound of animals being hurt and loud noises coming from a home in a posh Coral Gables neighborhood led concerned neighbors to call the police Friday afternoon, and when police got there, what they found was gruesome.

Several animals were found beheaded as sacrifices in a Santeria ritual. Police stormed in without a warrant because they felt animals could be in imminent danger. However, there is nothing they can do because the participants in this Afro-Cuban religion are protected by a Supreme Court ruling that allows them to do this.

A Santeria temple in Hialeah took their legal battles to the Supreme Court after authorities tried to shut them down two decades ago in Hialeah. In particular they tried to stop them from committing animal sacrifices, which are sometimes used in Santeria ceremonies. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, and in their decision they allowed animal sacrifices as long as they are killed in a humane manner.