LAS VEGAS -- Piles of beheaded birds are being mysteriously dumped on some streets in the Las Vegas valley's east side.
One business on Charleston Boulevard is forced to deal with the stench of rotting carcasses twice a month.
The beheaded chickens and pigeons could be part of a religious ritual.
“Oh, where did this come from?" Helen Arciaga, a thrift shop owner asks as she finds several dead birds in an alley behind her store.
The alley has become a bird graveyard or a dumping ground for the carcasses.
"Oh my good Lord it stinks,"
Arciaga is concerned because she wants to keep the area clean for her customers.
"It concerns the health of the community,” she said.
And the dead birds don't just end up in the alley.
“The first time I saw it, it was a large rooster," said Ryan Roskins, a street cleaner.
He has seen beheaded birds on many roads throughout the east side.
"Everything else is there, feet, feathers. It's just decapitated," Roskins said.
He believes he knows who is behind the dumping of the birds.
"I actually think it must be voodoo," he said.
However, a West African priest says that may not be the case. He says people practicing the religion of Santeria or Ifa use animal sacrifices like chickens, pigeons or goats as a means of protection or as a way to cleanse the body.
"They might be wiping themselves with the bird, letting the blood and then having to discard the body,” Ifa priest Duane Reece said.
He says where the bird's body is dumped depends on what the spirit or deity is calling out for.
"Just like a first communion, just like a baptism, all of these ways are ways humans use to communicate," he said.
But for Arciaga, the ritual can't stop soon enough.
"I'm sorry for what we saw today," she said.
Arciaga and other nearby business owners are waiting for animal control to get the dead birds out of the alley. They know it’s likely more dead birds will be dumped there again.
Roskins says he's filed several reports with animal control who he says is in charge of cleaning up the birds.
Animal Control cleaned up the bird bodies and notified Metro Police. If you find a beheaded bird, or any beheaded animal, call Animal Control.
A maintenance man on the site said he is often the one who cleans up the mess to ensure the retail complex is following health code.
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