The Dog equivalent of Europe's Alien Big Cat. Some livestock-ravaging cryptids have a decidedly canid look, though in most respects they behave similarly to the mystery cats.
Variant names: Beast OF GÉVAUDAN, Girt dog, Island monster (Isle of Wight), PHANTOM Wolf, Vectis monster (Isle of Wight).
PP'hysical description: Like a large dog but with certain peculiar features. Dark color. Small ears. Long snout. Short legs. Long tail.
Behavior: Kills livestock but often only drinks the blood instead of eating the animal. Tracks: Clawed.
Distribution: England; Ireland; Serbia; Russia.
Significant sightings: An unknown animal killed as many as seven or eight sheep each night by cutting their throats and drinking their blood near Ennerdale Water, Cumbria, England, from May to September 1810. Will Rotherby, who was knocked down by the beast, described it as lionlike, though most observers thought it a dog. A dog was killed on September 12, after which the killings stopped.
A mystery animal killed sheep, as many as thirty in one night, from January to April 1874, in County Cavan, Ireland, and later near Limerick. Throats were cut and blood sucked, but the sheep were not eaten.
From July to December 1893, a dog-sized animal with a long snout and a long tail attacked women and children near Trosna, Orel Region, Russia. At least one child and two women were said to have been killed. Repeated attempts by hunters to shoot or capture the animal failed, though it apparently ate some poisoned sheep set as bait and disappeared beyond the Vytebet' River. In fact, more than one beast may have been involved, possibly a big cat and a smaller dog.
In November 1905, a mystery animal killed sheep in the area around Great Badminton, South Gloucestershire, England, leaving the flesh almost untouched, but the blood had been lapped up.
A lion-headed, maned, hairless mystery animal on the Isle of Wight, England, was killed in 1940; it turned out to be a fox in an advanced state of mange.
A dog the size of a small pony was seen on Dartmoor, Devon, England, by policeman John Duckworth in 1969 and 1972.
In the mid-1990s, a pair of unusual animals was killed near Slatina, 9 miles southeast of Cacak in Serbia. Slightly bigger than pit bulls, they had short legs, long snouts, and no tails. They had been killing chickens and livestock and drinking their blood. A similar animal was killed near Mala Kopasnica, about 100 miles to the southeast.
Near Gornja Gorevnica, Serbia, in November 2000, many sheep were found killed by an animal that made a tiny incision in their necks and drank their blood. More than 150 hunters went to Jelica Mountain to hunt for the beast, but they found nothing. Some thought that North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces had introduced predators to destroy Serbian livestock.
In the summer of 2001, a mystery animal killed as many as ten sheep a night in the region around Novi Knezevac, Serbia. Sheep weighing as much as 200 pounds were found slaughtered, and the guard dogs remained silent. Possible explanations:
(1) The Gray wolf (Canis lupus) has been extinct in England since 1486, in Scotland since 1743, and in Ireland since about 1770. Russia has always been a stronghold for wolf populations, which have actually increased since World War II. Attacks on people by wolves are extremely rare, except for the occasional rabid specimen. In the twentieth century, the only evidence for such attacks involved some unconfirmed reports from Italy that wolves had attacked and killed unaccompanied young children. In the absence of natural wild prey, wolves will go after livestock, especially in the winter. Sheep, carrion, and domestic dogs were found to be their most frequent prey, according to one study in Spain.
(2) A feral Domestic dog (Canis familiaris), especially a hound or other large breed or crossbreed.
(3) Wolf x dog hybrids occur more frequently as wolf populations become more isolated. Hybrids have been reported throughout Southern Europe.
(4) Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) turned up in Yorkshire, England, in 1983 and North Wales in 1990.
(5) A few Coyote cubs (Canis latrans) are said to have been introduced around 1881 in Epping Forest, Essex, England.
(6) A giant variety of Pine marten (Martes martes), suggested by Andrew Gable. Sources: "Wolves in Great Britain," Land and
Water 17 (March 7, 1874): 190; "An Irish Wolf," Land and Water 17 (March 28, 1874): 245; R. G. Burton, "A Wild Beast in Russia," The Field82 (December 9, 1893): 882; A. H. B., "A Wild Beast in Russia," The Field 82 (December 23, 1893): 973; "The Wild-Dog of Ennerdale," Chambers's Journal, ser. 6, 7 (1904): 470-472; "Sheep-Slaying Mystery," Daily Mail (London), November 1, 1905, p. 5; "The Badminton Jackal," Gloucester Journal, November 25, 1905, p. 8; "Badminton Jackal," Daily Mail (London), December 19,
1905, p. 5; R. G. Burton, "Wolf-Children and Were-Wolves," Chambers's Journal, ser. 7, 14 (1924): 306-310; Karl Shuker, Mystery Cats of the World (London: Robert Hale, 1989), pp. 93-95; Karl Shuker, Extraordinary Animals Worldwide (London: Robert Hale, 1991), pp. 177-179; Marcus Scibanicus, "Strange Creatures from Slavic Folklore," North American BioFortean Review 3, no. 2 (October 2001): 56-63, http://www.strangeark.com/nabr/ NABR7.pdf.
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