A Virginia woman has been charged with animal cruelty after Loudoun County authorities alleged she inhumanely killed 12 to 15 chickens weekly for ritual sacrifices.
Loudoun County Animal Services received a complaint on April 25 claiming that animals in a home on Sherwood Court in Sterling were “being cruelly killed,” said Angela Chan, a deputy chief with the department.
After an investigation, an animal services officer found evidence of chickens being treated inhumanely for “some sort of ritual practice,” Chan said.
Mercy Carrion, 43, has been charged with three counts of animal cruelty in connection with the case, authorities said.
Chan said it was unclear how long the alleged sacrifices had been taking place at the home or how many chickens in total had been sacrificed.
Chan could not detail the evidence found in the investigation, but a warrant obtained by the Loudoun Times-Mirror, which first reported the story, indicated an animal control officer saw “what appeared to be blood splatter on the walls of the accused’s living room, religious idols, a club with a metal shield covered in dried blood and feathers, a large human bone, animal heads and parts skewered on sticks in a vase.”
The warrant also stated there were “two cauldrons with various animal torturing devices” along with bowls filled with animal blood and two dead roosters in the home, according to the Times-Mirror.
The paper also reported that a confidential informant saw Carrion “run around the house, slamming the chickens to a wall, bludgeon them to death with a club” or bury, burn and cut the chickens while they were alive.
Documents filed in Loudoun County indicate that at least one rooster was seized from the property, according to a court clerk.
Animal services officials said they’re not aware of any exemptions for animal cruelty for religious purposes.
“Our primary concern is the way in which the animals were being killed, and that is being investigated,” Chan said.
Online court records indicate Carrion is due in court for trial on June 10.