First Church of Cannabis Founder’s Beloved Pet is Murdered: Please Spread the Word
Warning: This blog contains graphic content that may be disturbing to some readers.
12 years ago, life was new and good for a little peacock who had yet to be named. His mother sheltered him, his siblings surrounded him, and, after some growing, he found a name, Bert, and his forever home with a man named Bill Levin, who would go on to found Indianapolis’ First Church of Cannabis. For many years they lived together, happily, peacefully, with Bert even proving a popular subject for elementary school students writing papers. He didn't hurt anyone, and he provided a lesson in nature, compassion, and elegance to all who experienced the privilege of his presence.
Wednesday, August 23rd started off as a normal night for Bert and his, “best friend,” Bill. He was minding his business in his own backyard, perhaps pecking at seeds or feeling a nice summer breeze pass through his exquisitely beautiful plumage as he waited for his companion to return from a church service. But because of the brutally disturbing actions of another human in his community, Bert never got to say hello to his best friend again. His life was taken in the most horrific, unthinkable and violent way possible, and Bill has been left heartbroken. “Every morning, every night, we had our rituals, I would always hear him. He was our protector. If anything was wrong, he would warn us. He was a stellar bird and he brought great beauty into this neighborhood. He never hurt anything, he never damaged anything. All he was was beautiful,” Levin says.
That night, as Levin walked up the street on his way home from church, he saw his roommate in the distance. Her arms were full of feathers and she was crying. Someone in the community, Levin suspects one of his neighbors, had tortured poor, helpless Bert to death in the most sickening and brutal way possible. “The neighborhood reported it was a dog attack. I went down, I examined, and it was clearly a human attack. There were no puncture wounds, no blood. Somebody captured my bird, held him by his tail feathers, smacked him on the ground and pulled all his tail feathers out. He crawled under another bush and died. And that’s how I found him,” he recalls. It would have taken a lot of force to pull out just one of Bert’s feathers, and it’s simply frightening the amount of muscle, rage, and hatred would have taken to rip them all out.
Law enforcement say an investigation is, “ongoing,” but this isn’t the first time Bill and his marijuana church have been victims of crime. And what’s more terrifying is that this isn’t the first of Bill Levin’s pets to be murdered. One of his goats, Daisy, who was otherwise healthy, dropped dead at random earlier this year, and Levin thinks she may have been poisoned. His church was also vandalized around the time of Bert’s death. Again, no one has been prosecuted. And if you’d other ministers in the area would reach out with offerings of prayer, love and support after such a particularly brutal crime, you’re wrong. As of September 6th, the Church’s Facebook page states that they have not had a single word of support from the other local religious leaders.
If you’re an Indianapolis resident, let the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department know (politely, of course) how disturbed you are by the events that have taken place, and urge them to make investigating Bert’s death a priority. Let them know you don’t feel the community will be safe or at peace until whoever did this is identified and charged. After all, anyone who would so viciously kill an innocent animal is capable of hurting humans, too.
A life that should have ended one day peacefully, surrounded by comfort and love, ended tragically, criminally, pitifully, and all alone. Whether it was motivated by Levin's Cannabis Church, a hatred for animals, or a simple desire to torture an innocent being with scant chance of getting caught, those of us in the cannabis community have an obligation to spread the word and show our support. One of our most courageous advocates has been attacked multiple times; it’s the least we can do for Bill, Bert, Daisy, and his other wonderful pets that are still living.
If you’d like to attend the First Church of Cannabis, services are every Wednesday night at 7:30. Of course, everyone is welcome. The church is located at 3400 S. Rural St. in Indianapolis and can be reached by phone at (317) 986-6972. If you are able to make a donation, please send it to:
The First Church of Cannabis
6255 N. Carrollton Ave
P.O. Box 30012
Indianapolis, IN 45230
No matter where you are, please send them your thoughts, prayers, and positive energy during this difficult time.
Written by Emma Ondieki