A Florida man told police he decapitated a dog because it “looked at him weird.”
Javier Orelly, 28, was arrested Tuesday on animal cruelty charges, according to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office records.
The West Palm Beach man first told deputies he stabbed the dog because it bit him, WPLG-TV reports. After changing his story, Orelly told deputies he had a hard time cutting the dog’s head off, so he got a second knife, described as a “medieval hatchet” and then “kept chopping the head until it came off,” WPLG reports.
Orelly killed the dog after sacrificing a duck during what appeared to be a Santeria ritual, the sheriff’s office said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Orelly Was Found Digging a Grave Near His Apartment With the Headless Dog Next to Him, Police Say
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said they received a tip on January 14 that a man “appeared to be setting up a shrine to kill his dog,” and had been seen earlier throwing the dog around, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
Deputies said they went to the apartment and found Javier Orelly digging a grave in the yard. The headless body of Orelly’s dog was found next to him. The head was sitting on top of rocks nearby, the sheriff’s office said.
2. He Told Police He Was ‘Stressed Out’ & Killed the Dog to ‘Cleanse Himself’
Orelly told police he “was stressed out and needed to sacrifice animals to cleanse himself,” according to the arrest report.
The local animal control said they have not had any interactions or reports of animal cruelty involving Orelly in the past.
3. Police Also Found Animal Skins & a Stick With the Word ‘Tortura’ Carved Into It
Along with the decapitated dog, the sheriff’s office said they found a dead duck, animal skins and a wood stick with “tortura” carved into it. Tortura is Spanish for torture.
Two large knives were next to the head, along with a medieval ax and money on top of a red towel.
The Palm Beach County animal control said it appeared to be an act of Santeria, but that it’s unusual for a dog to be involved in animal sacrifices. It is illegal to sacrifice cats and dogs in Florida.
4. Orelly Has Mental Health Issues & Has Received Treatment in the Past
During Orelly’s first court appearance on Wednesday his mother said her son had a history of mental health issues and had received treatment in the past, the Palm Beach post reports. She did not get into specifics.
Along with two counts of animal cruelty, Orelly was also charged with possession of marijuana. On Wednesday a judge ordered he be held at the county detention center pending a mental health evaluation.
5. Police Say It’s ‘Not Uncommon’ to Find Animals Killed as Part of Religious Rituals
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said some forms of ritualized animal sacrifice are legal in Florida, if the animal dies humanely for a religious purpose, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
County Animal Care and Control Captain Dave Walesky told the newspaper, “As far as Palm Beach County is concerned, it’s not uncommon for us to get reports of animals that have been disposed on the side of the road or in other parts of the county that appear to have been involved in some sort of Santeria ritual. But usually, in most cases, it doesn’t involve a dog.”