There has been plenty written on mysterious disappearances of human beings, and the cases seem to be countless. Yet, it is not always people who seem to vanish without a trace, and in some cases there have been rather enigmatic vanishings of pets that have gone on to be totally unexplained. Of course they don’t get the same sort of coverage or intense speculation as those of humans, but some of these cases seem to be truly strange in their own right and seem worth looking into. Here are a few of the unsolved mysteries of mass disappearances of pets, which remain to be solved and leave questions in their wakes.
One recent and rather spooky case of mass vanishings of pets began in 2013 in the U.S. state of Idaho. In a rural area of southern Idaho known as Magic Valley, which includes Twin Falls and nearby farming communities there was an intense spate of animal vanishings over a very short period. Over just a few months dozens of animals began disappearing in quick succession without explanation, to the point that authorities were baffled and one animal control center director said, “The dogs seem to vanish into thin air.” This was strange enough, but then some dead dogs started showing up under bizarre circumstances.
The carcasses were found dumped off the highway that runs through the region, and they all exhibited blunt head trauma indicative of what authorities deemed “ritual killings.” Some had been additionally shot in the head and in at least one case the animal was found at a place called the Devil’s Corral in Jerome County with a strange purple cloth draped over the body for reasons unknown. The bodies did not in any of the cases exhibit any sign of the dogs having been subjected to dog fighting, and it was all a mystery as to who would kill them or why, or even if the carcasses had anything to do with all of the missing pets at all. Most of the missing animals have not been found, and it is strange that there is absolutely no lead on so many missing, with Lisa Kauffman, Idaho director of the Humane Society, saying of it, “Animals go missing every day. What’s disturbing about this trend is that there is absolutely no trace of them.” Was this the work of cultists or something else? Why would they need so many dogs?
In 2015 there was another case from St. Lawrence County, in Northern New York state. Over just a few months 15 dogs suddenly went missing within a 26-mile radius area without a trace, sometimes right out of locked and fenced-in yards, and in one case a dog that had been chained just vanished, leaving both owners and police utterly perplexed. There were a few reports of unidentified people in dark clothing and driving a black car loitering about the areas where some of the animals disappeared, but other than that there has been no trace of where the animals have gone and no discernible motive for so many to be taken in such a short span of time. St. Lawrence County Animal Control Officer James McConkey said of the case:
There’s something going on. Most dogs that disappear are found in a few hours or a day at most, but these dogs are never seen or heard from again. There have been a few where people had them in a fenced-in yard, with no way for the dog to get out, and they disappeared. In another, a dog was removed from its chain.
There are absolutely no leads, evidence, or hints as to what happened to these animals, and the best authorities can come up with is that it must be part of some sort of organized dog-theft ring. In 2015 there was also a strange series of vanishings in Reading, Pennsylvania, when between 50 and 60 small dogs went inexplicably missing over the course of less than a year. No suspects were ever found, and indeed no trace of the dogs was ever found, leading the main theory to be that they were stolen to be sold off. One resident said of this:
Someone has to be taking these dogs. It’s just too many dogs to go missing in one month. In one month there was about 15 of them. If all of these dogs are missing and they are not going back to their rightful owners, and someone is stealing the dogs, they are breeding them.
It’s not only dogs that have been the subject of serial mass vanishings. In the city of Guelph, in southwestern Ontario, Canada, there was a sudden and massive disappearance of cats throughout the area in 2014 that has remained unexplained. Once again, over the course of just a few months, dozens of the animals went missing without a trace, and although it was reported that coyotes had been seen roaming around in the area the lack of any ravaged carcasses was seen as pointing more to a human culprit. There was also the fact that other small animals seemed to be thriving, as one resident said, “If there was coyotes marauding around in here you wouldn’t see as many rabbits or squirrels, and we are overrun with rabbits.” So is this some nefarious party abducting cats, and if so who and why?
There were three of the animals found in a dismembered state, and in one case a single cat’s head, just the head, was found, but it could not be determined if these incidents were caused by animals or done by human hands, nor what connection they had to the many other cat vanishings in the area. Local residents believed that someone was stealing the cats for some sinister reason, but there were no reports of anyone seeing someone actually snatch any of the animals, leading the Humane Society to speculate that it must have been the work of wild animals, but question marks have hung over the whole thing. In the meantime, the cat disappearances got so bad that a sign was actually posted reading, “This is not a safe neighbourhood for cats to be outside unattended.” Whatever was happening to these cats posed a big mystery in the area at the time, and one resident said, “Whether it is a person or an animal, no one is sure. But it is a concern to me that the cats are disappearing, like 30 of them.”
Oddly, like in many of these other cases, the disappearances seem to have stopped just as suddenly as they started, and that is one of the reasons such cases are so baffling. Who would move in to these areas to steal pets at such a rapid pace and why? Why would they just leave and why did they target these particular areas? What is going on here? Are these animal dealers, cultists, or something else? Who needs all of those animals and for what? As it stands no one knows. No one has been arrested in connection with any of these cases, and in most of these incidents there is no suspect or lead at all. All of these animals have just vanished into thin air. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but such mass pet vanishings are creepy nevertheless, and pose an odd mystery that no one has the answer to.
By BRENT SWANCER