Decapitated chickens found on Riverhead railroad tracks

(Credit: SPCA)
(Credit: SPCA)

A Town of Riverhead employee found plastic bags containing three mutilated chickens on the railroad tracks near Hubbard Avenue Thursday morning.

In a Friday press release, the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it is offering a $1,000 reward for information on the case leading to an arrest and conviction. The New York State Humane Association is also offering a $1,000 reward, bringing the total to $2,000.

The chickens were decapitated, partially plucked and stuffed in plastic bags, and the SPCA has described the case another possible ritualistic killing.

SPCA Chief Roy Gross said the animals were killed elsewhere shortly before being dumped on the tracks.

“We do believe it’s a ritualistic killing from some of these religious groups that think it’s OK to slaughter animals unjustifiably,” Chief Gross said. “All too often this has been happening and it’s time to put a stop to it. We’re not in the dark ages any more.”

The SPCA is still investigating last months’ discovery of three decapitated goats in Calverton.

Chief Gross said he does not suspect that the same people are behind both cases, but that the two show signs of ritualistic killings.

“It is a seasonal type of thing where these ritualistic killings are done,” he said. “The goat case, we believe, is a religion where they do sacrifices from spring going into summer. So you’ll see more of it that time of year. The same thing with the chickens.”

The SPCA is also conducting a joint investigation with Southold Police into a duffel bag left on a beach in Orient Thursday morning filled with seven dead cats.

Check back for updates.