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“Their ears had been chewed off, their tongues had been ripped out, their lips had been torn off; their faces had just been literally ripped off. When I found them that way, all covered in blood, I just started screaming and screaming.”
Those are the words of Teresa Parker, a resident of Ditto Road in Waddy, describing the horrific mutilation of her five pet goats two weeks ago.
Parker’s was one of six confirmed attacks in the area between Nov. 28 and Dec. 6 that left eight goats mutilated and five were later euthanized because of the severity of the injuries. Three bulls were also attacked, but did not have to be euthanized because of their injuries.
No one knows what kind of creature is responsible for the attacks, and officials, who have organized a town meeting in Waddy for Monday, are left shaking their heads at the eerie circumstances surrounding the mutilations.
Animal Control Director Rusty Newton said he had several people relay stories of an unidentified large, black, hairy shape in the area, but nothing more specific than that.
“And one person said they heard something really strange one of the nights the attacks happened,” he said. “They said it was an odd sound, a sound they had never heard anything make before, just indescribable.”
That person was Bernice Theiler, who lives on Ditto Road, with her husband, David.
David Theiler said the mysterious attacker actually chased his wife and daughter on the night of December 6, when they went out to check on their dogs.
“They heard something running behind them, and they made it to the garage before it got to them,” he said, noting that they waited, scared, in the garage until he made it home.
“They were trapped in there for more than an hour,” he said.
Theiler’s mother, Joyce, who also lives on Ditto Road, said they even researched animal sounds on the Internet to see if they could find one similar to what they heard that night, but had no luck.
“We all know what a dog sounds like, and what a coyote sounds like, but it wasn’t like that,” David Theiler said.
In each of the attack, the livestock was penned, with no sign of how anything – or anyone – could have gained entrance. According the residents, each pen was securely locked when they found the mutilated animals the next morning.
“All of us, me, my husband, my neighbor and my vet, walked around the fence and could find no trace of anything – no digging underneath, no prints, nothing – there was nothing,” Parker said.
“People around here are calling it the Waddy Werewolf,” said Kevin Cox, who had three bulls and a goat attacked.
“My wife is a teacher at the [Shelby County] high school, and the kids there are all talking about how spooky it is. Me, I don’t know what it is, I just know I haven’t had hardly any sleep at all, staying up at night, waiting and watching for it to come back.”
All of the animals experienced various degrees of mutilation, but the attacker did not kill any of them outright, although all five of Parker’s goats had to be euthanized.
Newton said the attacks are mystifying to him, as an animal control expert, because they don’t resemble any animal attack he has ever seen.
“It is not doing this for food; it’s just mauling them,” he said.
That’s something that Teresa Parker said was so distressing to her.
“It just mutilated them; just for fun, just to torture them,” she said. “It just tore them to pieces and left them to die.”
Newton said he plans to call on several agencies for help, including the Kentucky State Police, Kentucky State Fish and Wildlife and state agriculture officials.
Sgt. Doug Detheradge with Fish and Wildlife, who is heading up their investigation, Thursday said the first thing he plans to do is examine a strange animal print David Theiler discovered on his property within the past couple of days.
“I have not seen it yet,” he said. “But it is my personal opinion, based on my farming background, that what we are probably dealing with here is some type of dog. I say that because a wild animal will kill for only one of two reasons, for food or to protect themselves, and that was not the case here.”
Theiler, though he did not say what he thought the animal could be, said he was skeptical that it is a dog.
“We all know what a dog sounds like,” he said.
Newton said vets he had talked to said they could not identify what kind of animal could have been responsible for the attacks, because the wounds were too vicious to leave tooth marks.
Dale Parker, looked nervously around the heavily wooded area surrounding their home in Waddy as he speculated how a creature could have wrought such viciousness.
“It’s got to be some kind of real big animal; I don’t think any man could have been strong enough to rip them apart that way, not unless he’s a real sicko,” he said. “There’s still pieces of them laying out there that I haven’t been able to bury.”
Parker pointed out a large, wooded area that stretches well beyond his property, figuring that’s where the attacker emerged.
“All of the attacks have been on the property along these woods,” he said.
He gestured toward a rabbit in a cage, which was located against one side of the goat pen where the attacks took place.
“It didn’t get that rabbit there, but you can see where it tried to,” he said, pointing to a section of wire that had peeled back on the side of an unoccupied cage next to the rabbit’s.
Cox’s three bulls and goat were not as seriously mauled as the Parkers’ livestock, and he speculates that was because they were in a pen with some donkeys, which could have made the attacker leery of getting stomped.
Cox added that his three children are afraid to go outside to even feed the dogs.
“And it’s a funny thing, too,” he said, recalling the night the creature attacked his livestock. “My dog that stays in the house, she knows it’s out there, and she just whines.”
Teresa Parker said she is afraid for her life and thinks many neighbors are, too.
“I’m scared to death to go outside without a gun,” she said. “Because this thing, whatever it is, you could just turn around and it could be right there.”
“Having to go around armed all the time is getting old,” he said.
Even though there hasn’t been another incident during the past week, officials are still very worried.
Newton and Tony Carriss, magistrate in District 6, which encompasses Waddy and Mount Eden, plan to hold a town meeting Monday night at 6:15 p.m. at the Waddy Ruritan Club to discuss the attacks.
“This is a very serious situation,” Carriss said.
Amidst all of the speculation and rumor flying around the community, ranging from a pack of wild dogs, to an exotic animal that got loose, to a bear, to supernatural entities, Newton said he really could not even begin to guess what kind of an animal would go on such a rampage.
As for exotic animals, Kentucky law states that as of 2005, it is unlawfully to own a dangerous exotic animal. While people who owned one prior to that date may keep it, the animal may not bred. Fish and Wildlife’s Web site contains a lengthy list of prohibited animals.
They have not yet responded to The Sentinel-News’ open records request for the list of people who have permits to own exotic animals in Shelby County.
Newton is spreading the word around the community about the upcoming meeting.
“We want to encourage everyone from the public to come out to the meeting Monday night, to help us get a handle on this,” he said. “We’re hoping someone has seen something that can help us figure out what is happening in Waddy.”
Theiler said he plans to attend.
“When it goes after your wife and daughter, well, I want to be in on trying to find out what this thing is,” he said.
What:Waddy Town Meeting
When:Monday, 6:15 p.m.
Where:Waddy Ruritan Club, King’s Highway
Topic:Discussion the attacks that have left livestock mutilated