Cattle mutilations are a strange and ongoing issue that in many cases have never been satisfactorily resolved to those concerned. A worldwide phenomenon; they have been associated upon occasion with UFO sightings, and strange circular patterns within close proximity of the carcasses.

The following is an account of cattle deaths and disappearances from the spring of 2001, which occurred in the Peterborough area of Ontario (approx. 1 ½ hours N.E. of Toronto). The reader is invited to make up his or her own mind as to what actually may have occurred and if it could perhaps be related to this phenomenon.

A concerned member of the community first made us aware of these seemingly out of the ordinary deaths and disappearance. On the morning of April 7th 2001 a Cavan area farmer found the body of a 1500 lb. cow lying on her side near the yard. She had been healthy and was starting the calving process. Puzzled, the owners called in a butcher to skin the cow in hopes of determining what had happened. In the process the cow “split in half and her front end dropped off the loader” the spine having been completely crushed and the muscles separated.

Again on the morning of the 16th alerted by the sounds of a “calf bawling” the farmers found a second cow in similar condition in close proximity to where the first body had been found (approx. 350-400 ft. from the house). The following day a third cow went missing without a trace and the Ministry of Natural Resources were called in to aid in determining what had happened.

The owners were convinced a black bear was the culprit in both deaths and disappearance. They had sighted a possible track, found black hair in the hoof of one cow, and reportedly had at one time heard grunting sounds. They also noted to a local newspaper that periodically over a couple of years their cattle would get spooked and “run full-tilt for 1.6 km from pasture to the barnyard.

An O.P.P helicopter was dispatched to search the area, traps were laid, but no bear was sighted nor was caught. Ontario Provincial Police did not file a report.

On May 9th ‘Peterborough This Week’ reported that a dog had been attacked in the Cavan area. The animal, a Sheppard/collie cross, suffered a near fatal wound, which tore open its shoulder to tail. The distraught owner worried for the safety of local children commented, “I don’t care what the MNR says it is; I don’t know if it’s an alien being (but) it has to come out.” Many area residents were quite frightened and felt that the same culprit involved in the cows’ deaths and disappearance was also involved in the attack on the dog.

An MNR investigation of the area yielded the following results: no tracks were ever found, no signs of the missing cow were discovered, and traps failed to work so were thusly removed. DNA test results of the hair found on one of the dead cows proved to be that of another cow and not a bear as suspected.

Confirmed by both a member of the MNR staff and a friend who is a Native Canadian wilderness tour guide; (whom is very black bear savvy) bears do not attack at night, nor do they leave their prey uneaten. These cows were not fed upon. “The predator’s behaviour never matched those of a hungry bear.”

At this time we do not know the frequency of bear sightings in the area, however the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, & Rural Affairs Ontario compensates farmers for killed livestock, so they should have this information on hand.

A bear may have been the culprit behind the attack on the dog as food had been left out in the hopes of attracting deer. According to MNR staff “bears don’t seek confrontations with domestic animals but will strike out if dogs running at large cross their paths.”

Through telephone conversations with the MNR we further learned that the cows had been “cut up” so it was unconfirmed if both had been pregnant, or recently birthed. When asked to offer an opinion on what may have caused the deaths and disappearance the answer received was, “ I do not know.”

Based on the above information a hungry bear does not appear to be the cause (no claw marks, tracks, teeth marks) and there are no indications whatsoever of human involvement. What then did kill these cows, crushing their spines and separating the surrounding muscles? And what of the cow that vanished apparently with no trace? Was it the result of some other type of very large predator, or perhaps ‘something’ else? We may never know for certain; and there has been no other similar attacks or disappearances since. It would be of interest to note any other possible anomalies that may have been witnessed in the area at the time.

We shall update this story if warranted.


Peterborough This Week 27/04/01, 09/05/01, 16/05/01

Email correspondence

Telephone conversations