A Florida man decapitated a dog with a medieval ax because he wanted to “cleanse himself” and because the canine had “looked at him weird,” say police.
A judge ordered 28-year-old Javier Orelly to be held without bail awaiting a mental health exam in his first court appearance on two charges of animal cruelty on Jan. 20.
A neighbor alerted law enforcement that Orelly was kicking and throwing around a large black dog in front of his suburban West Palm Beach apartment on Jan. 14 around 7 p.m.
Orelly was digging what appeared to be a grave at the apartment, with the dog’s headless body lying nearby, when the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies arrived. The deputies found the dog’s head on rocks next to two knives, a small battle ax and a dead duck.
Orelly initially said the dog bit him, but then changed his story and told deputies “the dog looked at him weird, so he stabbed it in the neck," WPLG reported.
He said he used the ax to behead it because he had trouble decapitating the dog using two knives, according to the arrest report.
Officers also found a stick at the scene with the word “tortura,” the Spanish word for “torture,” carved into it. “Orelly was stressed out and needed to sacrifice animals to cleanse himself,” the report said of Orelly.
Orelly’s mother told police through an interpreter he has suffered from mental health issues and received treatment for them in the past.
He’s scheduled to appear in a mental health court on Jan. 22, reports New York Daily News.
Orelly does not have a history of abusing animals, said Animal Care and Control Capt. Dave Walesky.
Some animal sacrifices are permitted under U.S. and Florida law if the animal dies in a humane manner for a religious purpose, according to the Florida Sun-Sentinel. The state does not allow people to slaughter dogs or cats.
“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,” Walesky said, referring to the Caribbean religion. “But usually, in most cases, it doesn't involve a dog.”