A multi-agency investigation is under way to determine how dozens of dead chickens ended up bagged and scattered throughout a cemetery.
The first discovery was reported to police on Friday when just a handful of headless chickens were found in two bags at Aulenbach Cemetery, which straddles the border between east Reading and Mt. Penn, on Perkiomen Avenue.
On Monday, a 69 News crew was investigating a viewer tip about the first discovery when it found dozens of more bags of dead chickens placed alongside headstones throughout the cemetery.
Based upon his initial examination of the dead birds, Dylan Heckart, the director of development and public relations for the Humane Society, said it appears the birds were sacrificed for some sort of religious ritual and not used for cockfighting.
Police said there's nothing illegal about the birds being used for a religious ritual, however, those who left them in the cemetery could face charges for illegal dumping on cemetery grounds.
A few years ago, Central Berks police said they confronted some individuals who were taking part in some sort of ritual involving candles and two dead chickens alongside a grave in the cemetery. Those individuals were not charged, police said.
Reading police have also been notified of the recent discovery.
Anyone with information about the case can call Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913.