Headless chickens spark shock in metro Atlanta community

The sight of headless chickens on train tracks has shocked a northeast Atlanta neighborhood, where pedestrians can see the beheaded birds in broad daylight.

The birds can be visibly seen on the tracks off DeKalb Avenue, on the border of Atlanta and Decatur.  

Some people call the display strange, scary or disturbing, or even upsetting. 

"It's unusual to put any animal on the train track. It's sort of inherently violent," one passerby said. 

While no one knows the intentions behind those who placed the chickens there, it is a common ritual among people who practice Santeria, a religion in the Caribbean and parts of Africa that incorporates Catholicism and African religions. 

Some neighbors said chickens had appeared at the same spot before. 

While humane animal sacrifices have been deemed legal by the U.S. Supreme Court, trespassing on railroad tracks and improperly disposing of animals are misdemeanors in Georgia. 

There are plenty of people in the Metro who practice Santeria, according to Brian Small, owner of spiritual stores Yeye's Botanica. 

"Chickens are used for prayer, to cleanse off negative energy, sickness," Small said, who does not practice Santeria or sacrifices animals in such a way but has customers who do.  

He asks people in Atlanta who are taken aback by the sight to remember the sacred intentions of those who practice their faith. 

"We should respect all religions. In this country, it is a melting pot," he said.