In the 1980s, back east in New Jersey, I worked for several years at the local animal shelter.
After a year or so I was promoted to Animal Control Officer: I was even sent for training so I literally was a certified Animal Control Officer.
The majority of my duties included but was not limited to, dealing with Various domestic animals and wildlife at domiciles and at large.
The shelter's juridiction included and technically was limited to Montclair, Verona, and Cedar Grove.
From the shelter people would rent traps when they had wildlife "problems," such as raccoons, skunks, possums, squirrels, etc., and I would pick up traps that'd caught one, and drive out to the large wooded area behind the reservoir and release the li'l caught-alive captive.
I would also retrieve dead or injured animals that'd been struck by cars, or were for one reason or another simply dead.
The shelter's office hours were noon to 5pm, but we were there far earlier to clean out the dog runs from the night before.
We would get there around 8 or 8:30am.
Until noon I would assist in cleaning the dog runs, cat cages, et al, and I would not go out on non-emergency calls.
Between 5pm and 8am, if there was an emergency, the police would page me, and that would be a Night Call.
Emergencies consisted of an injured animal, or a wild animal, such as a bird, bat, or squirrel getting into someone's home.
Loose animals or such were not an emergency, and certainly dead animals were not an emergency.
The police knew, not that they always adhered to it, not to call me about non emergencies until the morning.
Occasionally they would convey the location of a dead animal that I could pick up in the morning.
One early summer morning I got paged by the police.
With daylight savings time it was already light out, an hour or three before I had to go to the shelter.
The police told me there was a decapitated chicken.
This was not the first; a year or two earlier when our assistant manager was doing Night Calls, he retrieved a decapitated chicken out at the railroad tracks.
In this case, the location was at Llewellyn Park, literally within walking distance to my home.
Considering the police speaking to me on the phone indicating it seemed like "a Satanic ritual," my curiosity was piqued.
When I had Night Calls I'd have the shelter van at my place overnight, so I drove to the park.
The "crime scene" was off the beat track; not difficult to find, I think some random person happened across it, and there were a handful of police at the scene.
Sure enough, what with the headless white chicken, this had been a magick ritual of some sort, and it was not diffuclt for me to deduce what'd taken place.
"Y' think this was some sort o' Satantic thing?" one of the officers asked.
"It was a ritual, certainly," I said, glancing at the evidence.
"But clearly not 'Satantic'."
I pointed at the materials left by the spell caster.
"These pennies and carmel squares indicate this was Santaria, which is definitel not Satanism.
Plus, while this chicken was an Offering, it was not a sacrifice."
"What makes you think that?"
"There's no blood on the white feathers, nor the leaves or the ground.
This chicken was killed professionally, at a local life poultry shop."
"How do you know?"
Well, there's no dew this morning, but this bird's feathers are wet.
As is that plastic bag lying over there with the live-poultry shop information on it.
This bird was most likely purchased dead, it was packed in ice; hence the moisture.
The ritual itself probably took place maybe only two or three hours ago."
I put the chicken into the poultry bag from which it'd come, saving myself one of my own dead-bags from my van.
As I went to leave, one of the police asked, "What about the other stuff?"
I glanced back, knowing he was refering to the carmels, the pennies, and the candles.
"The chicken is one thing; while it was left as part of the ritual, its dissolution can be anything from natural decomposition, predation, et al, so I would consider being retrieved this way counts as Within The Rules," I explained.
"But the pennies and the carmel squares?" I added wryly.
"Those are offerings to Deity, and I've no idea as to which Deity with whom they were working.
Being magickally charged by the ritual, I'm sure as heck not touching any of those items..."
I left for work, with some amusement wondering if any of the police left the offerings untouched as well.
For their sake, I hope they did.