Decapitated animals found near Courtney Campbell Causeway


City police are investigating after reports of decapitated animal bodies in the area of the Courtney Campbell Causeway.

  • Dead animals found along access road
  • Resident tells police it’s not the first time it’s happened
  • Police report says it appears to be a religious ritual

“We came upon beheaded large goats, ducks, chickens, roosters, and different kinds of birds,” said animal rights activist Lisa Hayworth.

Next to the animals, Hayworth pointed out flowers, fruits, and even coins. Hayworth says it appears to be some type of animal sacrifice ritual.

The flowers and fruit along with the beheaded animals are similar to rituals in the Santeria faith.

Hayworth said she has seen the dead animals along the Courtney Campbell Causeway more than a dozen times. But this is the first time she has contacted police.

“I just had enough,” Hayworth said.

Animal sacrifices are not illegal. It is a protected religious practice in the United States. However, police say dumping the animals in a public place is what they are investigating. They are also not ruling out animal cruelty.

“Just the smell and the disease of everything that comes with this, I can’t imagine why it’s acceptable. Apparently it’s been going on for years,” said Hayworth.

Victor Cavaleri said he was enjoying a day on the water with his wife along the causeway when he alerted police to beheaded goats in trash bags.

“By the time the whole incident took over, we basically had to leave. It ruined our fun,” Cavaleri said.

Hayworth said she is scared to think about what would have happened if she hadn’t noticed the animals. A coastal cleanup is scheduled for this weekend along the causeway, where plenty of school aged students are expected to volunteer.

Police ask that anyone with information give them a call.


Madeira Beach ferry to begin operations in October


The Tampa Bay Ferry and Taxi will soon begin operating in the Madeira Beach area for the first time.

  • Ferry will run between St. Pete, Treasure Island, Madeira Beach
  • Soft opening for service scheduled for Oct. 1
  • Madeira Beach residents will get half off ticket price
  • A closer look at the Madeira Beach route

“I look forward to working with the cities and counties and developing these routes,” he said. “Bringing waterborne transportation to the Gulf beaches,” said the man leading the effort, Captain Mark Hubbard.

Hubbard said he purchased two boats that can each hold up to 49 passengers.  The ferry’s route will run between Madeira Beach, Treasure Island and St. Petersburg.

The cost for a one-way trip is $10, while a day pass is $19.50. A soft opening is scheduled for Oct. 1, and Hubbard said the rides that first weekend will be free.

“There’s a phrase called ‘transportainment,’” he said. “What a way to travel. I mean, this is sexy.”


Tampa Bay Ferry and Taxi Captain Mark Hubbard (pictured) plans to start his new service with a soft opening on October 1. (Josh Rojas, staff)

City and county leaders showed up for the inaugural voyage at Madeira Beach City Hall on Wednesday. Mayor Travis Palladeno said having a ferry service is a “no brainer” in a town surrounded by water.

“It makes sense to be able to use these waterways to move people,” he said. “Up and down, from businesses to businesses, from towns to towns.”

Hubbard said he got a small subsidy of $25,000 for the first year of service. The water taxi will initially make three trips on Fridays and Saturdays. Madeira Beach residents will always get 50 percent off the ticket price.

The Tampa Bay Ferry and Taxi’s grand opening is scheduled to run in conjunction with the Seafood Festival on Oct. 28.


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