EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Humane Society of the United States is offering a $5,000 reward for anyone who can lead investigators to those responsible for the “ritualistic sacrificial killing” of several chickens throughout Rhode Island.

The way the chickens are being killed is “brutal and not consistent with humane killings that would meet religious exemptions,” according to the Rhode Island Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA).

Earl Newman, RISPCA’s humane law enforcement agent, said they’ve been working on this case for one and a half years.

“Hopefully this reward will allow us to secure information to lead to a closure of this case,” Newman added.

The Humane Society said the first chickens were found in the area of Warwick City Hall, and investigators believe they were killed somewhere else and transported there.

Other birds have been found discarded around the state, including on the side of the road, at a cemetery, and in one Rhode Islander’s front yard.

Upon examining the birds, the Humane Society said they were all “deliberately tormented and killed.”

Two of the chickens, according to the Humane Society, appeared to have been stomped to death, while another “had internal trauma and appeared to have been hit with something.” The Humane Society said all of the chickens were suspended upside down by their legs prior to their deaths.

“The cruel ways these animals were killed caused them significant suffering, and were clearly in violation of the state’s animal cruelty statute,” the Humane Society said.

Anyone who can identify those responsible for these “cruel and violent” killings is urged to contact the RISPCA at (401) 438-8150 ext. 3 or cruelty@rispca.com.