L.A. ANIMAL TORTURE-KILLINGS BLAMED ON SECT
Animal torture and slayings attributed to devil worshippers and the
Afro-Cuban Santeria religion appear to be increasing in this area, and
authorities are studying the legal question of how to stop the practices.
The city Board of Animal Regulation has asked for a report on the
matter, board member Arther Margolis said yesterday.
Reed said authorities last fall found six goats bound and kept in
the bathroom of a Culver city home, along with several chickens.
Candles and other religious items suggested Santeria links, and the
owners were charged with animal cruelty.
Margolis, an attorney, hopes the report will lead to consideration
of a law banning animal killing and torture as part of a religious
ceremony. He expects a First Amendment fight to follow immediately, as
it already has in Hialeah, Fla.
That predominantly Hispanic city near Miami passed three laws in
1987 aimed at the Santeria Church of Lukumi Babalu Ave., Florida's first
public church of the sect.
The Hialeah laws prohibit sacrifice of animals, including goats,
pigs, cows, poultry, cats or dogs, animals that sect members slaughter
The church sued the city in federal court, alleging that the laws
violate the constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion.
Santeria is a mix of Roman Catholicism, voodoo and African rituals
attributed to a Nigerian tribe.
(Taken without permission from the San Francisco Chronicle, Friday,
July 22, 1988, page A14)