City Desk

More Santería Evidence on D.C. Streets?

It's the Decapitated Fowl of the Week! An anonymous tipster recently mailed the Prince of Petworth, best known for coverage of new eateries and well-maintained rowhouse doors, this blurry picture of a headless rooster that emerged from melting snow on Ogden Street NW near 16th Street NW. Since other dead birds have recently been found around town, the blog asked whether the headless rooster may be the result of illegal cockfighting.

But what else could it be?

How about santería? Blog commenters chimed in with that possibility, which doesn't seem totally unrealistic considering that headless chickens have mysteriously popped up elsewhere, from Brooklyn's Prospect Park to Bridgeport, Conn., that are suspected to be connected to santería. The District is not a stranger to such practices. There was the time in 2004 when a Humane Society officer discovered two men with a caged male lamb, bottle of barbecue sauce, a candle, and a knife, in a woodsy section of Fort Totten. Then in 2007, there were the rumblings of "an escalating epic battle between two Latin voodoo priests" practicing santería in Adams Morgan, complete with decapitated doves on neighborhood streets.

Regardless of how the Ogden Street rooster died, if it was raised in the District, it was likely done so illegally. According to D.C. law, it's illegal to raise poultry unless you happen to "have a least an acre of land, which effectively denies chickens to city dwellers," according to The Washington Post.

"Another provision also prohibits coops within 50 feet of a home, another deal-breaker in a rowhouse neighborhood."

Now you know.

Photo of a non-headless rooster by Flickr user RaymondGobis using a Generic Attribution 2.0 Creative Commons license

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  • http://www.sarahstierch.com Sarah Stierch

    I spent my summers and holidays visiting New Orleans as a kid and teenager. I have to admit, despite what happens to those chicken, this makes me feel a little warm and fuzzy inside.

  • Rick Mangus

    Foreign savages, what's next Incan human sacrifices!

  • Dan Driscoll

    My bet is heavily on the Santeria. We captured a surviving Rooster many years back in Rock Creek Park by the Old Mill. Named him "Little Jerry" and found a no-kill farm to take him in.

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