Investigation continues at 'animal sacrifice' house

FELTONVILLE - December 28, 2009 One seasoned SPCA investigator calls 4844 Front Street, in Philadelphia's Feltonville section, a bone yard.

"It was just about the eeriest thing I've ever seen inside any residence," said Greg Jordan.

Authorities made the gruesome discovery while investigating reports of neglected dogs on the property.

They say they found hundreds of animal skeletons including monkeys and sheep, an altar, and buckets of dried blood.

"You couldn't take a step in that house without stepping on a melted candle, feathers, bones."

Investigators believe the animals were sacrificed as part of religious rituals. Neighbors tell Action News Ramon Cruz lives here. He calls himself a high priest of Santeria, a religion of West African and Caribbean origin.

One neighbor, who did not want to be identified, says the stench emanating from the house was unbearable. She never saw the sacrifices, the blinds were always drawn, and Cruz always kept the place protected with security cameras.

"I saw 7 cases of live chickens delivered every week."

Authorities are now trying to track down Cruz. They believe he's in Mexico. They've received reports he's ill with swine flu and unable to re-enter the country but when he does he faces several counts of animal cruelty charges.

"In terms of ritualistic sacrifices this is the worst I've seen."

Those charges are for two emaciated dogs found on the property which are now in the care of the SPCA.

We should point out; it's not illegal to sacrifice animals for religious purposes if it's done humanely. This investigation is ongoing.

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