A lot has been said in recent days about the pig's heart and other organs that were found in Elysian Park. There have been posts on a neighborhood list serv, and The Eastsider reported. Many who use Elysian Park regularly know that animal remains periodically are discovered, and Santeria practices are usually cited, or blamed. A couple of big issues arise: the issue of religious and cultural tolerance, and the question of whether animal cruelty should be tolerated ever. Like most progressives in Echo Park, Chicken Corner supports both: zero tolerance for animal cruelty, and open-minded tolerance for religious customs that I don't like. (We won't even consider the perennial debate over appropriate uses of public parks.)
Then there's the actual experience of finding a heart on the ground. This morning, I received the following description from a neighbor. She wrote:
It was very close, about 30 feet from the gate to the parking area on the paved trail below Sargent. If you are standing in the parking area below Sargent off of Academy facing South it was on the left hand side. The heart was laying in the hardpack maybe 8 - 10 inches from the pavement, the bag was deeper inside the bush. From the gate that blocks the road, the bag was under the last bush on the left. It was so close to where people park and walk.
While I was waiting for the police and ranger I watched a bunch of dogs try to pull their owners towards the bush, but the owners all pulled their dogs away not seeing the heart. When [my dog] stopped at the bush I thought he needed to pee, so I let him stick his head in the bush, that's when I saw the heart. I thought it was a deflated pink balloon, then I thought it was a whoopee cushion as it was exactly that color. I took my sunglasses off and walked over to it and I could see ventricle, etc. and knew it was no whoopee cushion.
The heart itself wasn't bloody, nor was there any blood around it. It was still very pink, so I am guessing it hadn't been there very long. The park ranger who was looking at the bag in the bushes said the bag was bloody. I didn't see it, didn't want to and left before they pulled it out.
I told the officers that the smell of decay is also at the end of the path, at Scott and the same trail. I'd noticed it on Tuesday and thought someone had thrown a dead squirrel or something like in that trash can. The can is totally full, so I thought maybe it had been sitting there for a while, but when I went over to throw Carl's poop out in it I could tell the trash can just smelled like trash. The smell of decay is coming from the hillside across the pavement from the trash can. I don't know if they went over there to investigate. Someone posted a comment in the Eastsider LA that they'd found a pig's head on the trail above the paved Sargent trail, I'm wondering if that head is still up there and that's what is causing the smell.
I just read [a neighbor's] post that there was a decapitated dog found near the entrance to the park opposite of where I found the heart. What is going on around here?
So, let's assume there was some religious purpose in this horror, a primitive and degraded upwelling that bullied its way into view. It's pretty easy to judge, not so easy to live with. And there is no excuse.