Mystery Canids Killed

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 23rd, 2008


In the wake of the mystery “black panther” being killed in Missouri comes a news item out of Indiana of the killing of a pack of mystery canids this week. The story broke late last night, May 22, 2008.

The event occurred at Gatchel, which is a little unincorporated town in Perry County, Indiana, sitting along the Ohio River, about 55 miles due east of Evansville, Indiana. Gatchel is on the western border of the Hoosier National Forest, a 200,000 acre park in the rolling hills of south central Indiana.


Ray Patton had just let his dogs out when one instantly started squealing in pain.

He automatically grabbed his gun. “I just instantly started shooting where I knew they were.”

A pack of animals was attacking his dog Kasey and trying to get his other dog.

“Kasey got about half way up to the house and fell down and my youngest daughter Katie picked her up and put her in the kitchen sink because she was bleeding all over everything.”

But Patton thought he must be seeing things.

“The first thing that come to my mind was wolf because I knew it wasn’t no coyote because they were about waist high standing about ten feet from me,” he said.

“I was expecting to see a collie maybe, a German shepherd, even a lab,” said Indiana Conservation Officer Joe Lackey.

He doubted the “wolf” theory from the start.

That is, until the animals returned to the Patton house for more. “Something was wrong with the way these things looked,” he said.

Within just a few hours five had been shot and more had been sighted.

“There’s been people up and down the roads since this has happened hunting wolves and that is what we don’t want,” Lackey said.

While Patton loves his dog, he’s thankful it wasn’t his grandchildren out in the backyard that day.

“He said they shook her pretty hard from both ends and he said the muscles under her skin were just like ground beef, and then she has numerous bite marks on her.”

The animals are currently being tested, to see if they are wolves or a hybrid mix. Residents are hopeful they’ve seen the last of them.

If you’ve seen these animals, or know anything about them, call the Tell City Police at 812-547-7068.

Source: “Wild dogs nearly kill a family pet,” WFIE-14, Evansville, Illinois, Reporter: Stefanie Silvey, New Media Producer: Melissa Greathouse, May 22, 2008 09:27 PM.

(Thanks to Cryptomundo correspondent John Jackson of Indiana, for forwarding this news.)

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

18 Responses to “Mystery Canids Killed”

  1. swnoel responds:

    I’d be interested in finding out more about those dogs… they look extremely similar to a pack of dogs that were harrassing some horses about 15 years ago in NH. The one that was shot appeared to be a wolf .

  2. ttongue1 responds:

    We’ve supposedly got a “pack” of these things roaming the fields in a developing area of higher end commerce in Northeast Wichita, Kansas. My daughter and I saw one 2 years ago. It was easily waist high, somewhat scrawny looking in the body but the head was what really caught our attention; it looked like a cross between a wolf a hyena and a jackal. It had extended ears and long exaggerated teeth. It literally “loped” across the street and, once across, stopped to stare at us, walked on, stopped and stared and continued this behavior until it entered the woods. Had we not been in a car I’m not sure what that animal might have done.
    I ran across an article about a year later on line from a guy in central Texas who was beginning to compile sightings. He was up to five when he got ours.
    I saw the “Monster Quest” episode on mutant canines but it just wound up asking more questions than shedding much new light on the topic. This whole phenomenon reminds me of “Wolfen” where urban development flushes out a hybrid species heretofore unknown.

  3. Galea responds:

    Thats not too far from me. I’m very interested in what turns out. Please keep us updated.

  4. shumway10973 responds:

    definite wolf features. was the forestry attempting to reintroduce wolves into Indiana anywhere? Wolves usually don’t travel any further than is needed, but when food is scarce, they are willing to do whatever is deemed necessary. If someone was breeding wolf hybrids, I doubt they are going to say anything now.

  5. kittenz responds:

    Though they might just be dogs, these animals look like wolf/dog hybrids to me. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of people, mainly in the midwest, who deliberately breed wolf/dog hybrids. When these animals are abandoned and become feral, or even when they are someone’s free-roaming pets, wolf hybrids are much, much more dangerous than either wild wolves or feral dogs. The dead ones in this photo look similar enough to one another, i.e. markings, head shape, etc., that they are probably related. Authorities might want to look around for a “breeder” who has recently made a clndestine “kennel reduction”. Sometimes people, falling for the internet hype that extolls the virtues of hybrids, pay a tremendous sum to buy these animals and then they think that they can in turn breed them and sell them for huge prices, not realizing how much it costs to raise them and how small the market for them actually is. So when the pups start to grow up, and the “breeder” realizes that all that “hype” was just “tripe” and the “breeder” gets too many adult animals wolfing down the food, sometimes they get rid of them by “taking them off” – abandoning them at night in a rural area.

    The animals are very intelligent and as they begin to mature at about 3 years of age, they become very predatory. They are also resourceful escape artists, and unless an owner is willing to invest in high quality containment fencing and cages with roofs, they WILL escape and teach themselves to hunt. Once they have started running as a pack and hunting their own food they are almost impossible to rehabilitate.

    In my rural area of south-central Appalachia, feral dog packs have been a problem for longer than I can remember. People always need to carry a stick or axe of some sort in case they run across dog packs in the woods. (They seem to respect a person who is carrying a big stick. I know, some of you will say “take a gun”, and I guess that’s OK too, for personal protection, at least a rifle or shotgun would be a good deterrent, but in order for it to be a deterrent, the dogs have to be able to see it, so a pistol would not be as good. Personally I prefer a walking stick or mattock; a big stick works just as well as a gun to deter dogs and it’s safer for people.)

    Now that wolf hybrids have become a part of the feral dog problem, that escalates the problem a notch higher. I have had personal experience with a wolf/dog that I raised from a young pup, who became more and more feral and began teaching herself to hunt after escaping from her kennel yard. I’ve talked about her in previous threads so I won’t go into a lot of detail here. For months I hoped against hope that all of Blue’s training and socialization would win over her predatory instincts but that did not happen. I tried everything, but I eventually had to put her down. I later learned that her sister, who was the tamest of the whole litter, and completely doglike in behavior as a puppy, had also become predatory and had ran away from her home and when she was about 4 years old. She, along with a few other feral dogs, ran as a pack for about a year, mainly running deer. Her owner eventually found her and killed her after she and a couple of other feral dogs broke into a neighbor’s goat pen and killed several goats. Both of those wolfdogs were spayed at an early age so I know that it was not sexual maturity that caused them to become predatory and go feral. It was something in their basic nature.

    Feral dog packs are EXTREMELY dangerous. Dogs in a pack are different, psychlogically, than one dog alone. They do not fear people much, and they will attack anyone who looks vulnerable, if the fancy strikes them. Children and elderly people out walking are especially at risk. Lone, preoccupied people such as joggers or bikers on isolated trails are also potential targets.

    I love dogs. But feral dog packs have to be eliminated. Every effort should be made to capture, rehabilitate, and rehome the individual dogs whenever possible, but those that cannot be rehomed should be either confined to sanctuaries or humanely destroyed.

  6. sschaper responds:

    Coloration looks just like coyotes. Could coyotes be phasing larger to fill the wolf niche?

    OTOH, expelled juvenile males from the Boundary Waters packs have been sighted in central Illinois, and my father saw one – or one of this type animal in the pictures, when he was cutting hay a couple years ago – a coyote the size of a Scots Collie, he said. That in northern Iowa.

  7. eireman responds:


    Just kidding. It very well could be wolves. They seem to be getting “reintroduced” everywhere these days. Furthermore, other species seem to be drifting back into their old haunts, humans be damned. We keep seeing mountain lion reports on a regular basis in areas where it was said they hadn’t been in a hundred years. Even jaguars appear to be returning to Arizona, which was once at the northern extremis of their natural habitat.

    I can’t help but think it’s a worrisome sign that people are spreading into everywhere, forcing these animals to flee – but they’ve nowhere to go. If you look at the statistics, you will see a huge population explosion in the front range Rockies over the past ten – nay, five – years. It suddenly became trendy to live in these areas (I suppose California had grown passe – or maybe just too expensive). Add to the mix, the housing boom we’ve had here in the US over the past few years, and you have a real recipe for problems as man rediscovers that wild animals still exist.

  8. kittenz responds:

    I don’t believe the animals shown here are pure wolves, nor do they look like coyotes. The shapes of their heads in not coyote-like, and some details in their structure and their coats lead me to believe that they are dog/wolf (or POSSIBLY dog/coyote) hybrids.

  9. Rogutaan responds:

    “There’s been people up and down the roads since this has happened hunting wolves and that is what we don’t want,” Lackey said.”

    I hate people. I understand the first guy who killed them, I mean they were attacking his dogs. Kind of like self-defense.

    But now that the public knows there’s wild-dogs, they automatically want in on the killing.

  10. sschaper responds:

    IIRC, the Innuit breed wolves back into their sled dogs every few generations. It is going to take more than one generation for a wolf-dog line to be domestic.

    Are these the ‘yaller dogs’ of the Appalachians, spoken of by the former owner of Blue? If so, they maybe nearly indigenous, brought over by the early colonizers from Asia. Very similar to dingos. Of course, breeding with domestic dogs has altered those populations some.

    I don’t hate people, and I understand people wanting to protect their families and neighbors. Humans do that. That is just natural behavior for the species.

  11. Shelley responds:

    I live in southern Illinois, southeast of the spot where these animals were shot. We have had at least two different coyotes who were as large as German shepherds. One died in a car collision in 2000, and I saw the other eating bread from my neighbor’s lawn a year ago. This is in the midst of a trailer court with numerous cars, dogs, people, etc., at about 10 PM. We also have lost several feral cats including a very smart female. There are no other predatory animals around here except automobiles, so we wondered if the coyotes are getting bigger, or have crossbred with large dogs. That was one unbelievably calm coyote–almost allowed me to walk up to it, then decided to trot off down the middle of the street.

  12. jules responds:

    I am in eastern Iowa.

    I saw something very similar to whatever is in those pictures.

    It was alone.

  13. Amdusias responds:

    They look a little like the “Melungeon Dog” AKA “Carolina Dog” AKA “American Dingo” in their gray form. They differ from the norm with those bushy tails however. Where my father grew up on the Appalachian rim these dogs hang out near town, simi-ferrel. They hop in your truck, go with you on a hunt, you share the meat, and they go back to hanging out outside the town. Females dig elaborate dens for whelping. They are very bitey dogs. Folks these days have taken to breeding them as pets and keeping them in-home. You have to have a stuffed animal on the coffee table for the first 6 months of their life, to put in their mouth as you pet them, because of that “bitey” trait. I understand that they are recognized by the Rare Breed Association (or whatever they are called) under the name Carolina Dog. I actually had a yellow one (the most common color) as a boy, but they come in “wolf pattern gray” and the occasional white and sable.

    They don’t play well with other dogs. Males make the better pets, as they will accept multiple masters. Females are “meaner ‘n hell” as my father would say.

  14. kittenz responds:

    These animals don’t look like Carolina Dogs (also known as Shell-heap Dogs). These animals look like wolf/husky or wolf/shepherd crosses, and Carolina Dogs look almost exactly like dingos. The Carolina Dog is an ancient true breed, indigenous to the south-central Appalachians, but most of the animals that you see that people are calling Carolina Dogs, are just random-bred dogs, run-of-the-mill mixed breeds.

    True Carolina dogs of the original type – not mixed with more modern breeds – are almost always some medium shade of fawn, like a dingo, and they do not have the black markings so typical of wolves and dogs that are descended from wolves. They also have a deep, narrow chest, something like that of a sighthound, and very large triangular dingo-like ears. There are very – if any – purebred Shellheap dogs left; even the ones shown in pictures at the dog breed info webite mentioned above clearly show the influence of shepherd, chow, and retriever.

    Of course that is true of any pariah breed – our species is nomadic, and we have taken our fellow nomad, Canis familaris, with us everywhere we have traveled. Pariah digs of one kind or another live on every continent except Antarctica.

  15. Amdusias responds:

    Heh, well my family called them “Melungeon Dogs” long before they were a recognized breed. Some have that wolf sable look. To call the Melungeon or “Carolina” dog a true breed is a little off, as they have almost certainly mixed with both wolves and coyote. They breed “true” for sure, but you can’t keep a wild canid “pure”. The red wolf is a wolf fox hybrid for example.

  16. whiteriverfisherman responds:

    I live about 50 miles north northwest of where the animals were killed. I have seen a red wolf on 2 separate occasions on the same piece of property while deer hunting. My brother in law has pictures of it. I don’t see why these can’t be another species of wolf. They look very much like an animal my father in law described to me. He watched it walk along a fence line between a corn field and the wood line. He swears it was a wolf. I don’t doubt him. I will be interesting to find out what they turn out to be.

    Just a side note: there used to be Black Panther sightings happening on a regular basis in this part of Indiana, I know people that have seen them. This doesn’t happen as often as it used to and local folks attribute that to the increase in the human population. People talk about Black panthers around here like they talk about deer and rabbits. They are simply just another animal in the woods.

  17. Blind.Atrocity responds:

    To me, they look like wolf hybrids. I’ve seen a lot of similar looking dogs and puppies here from a family that breeds wolf hybrids.

  18. kittenz responds:

    There are several types of dogs in the South and the Southeast – they can’t really be called breeds; they are not exactly that, nor can they really be called subspecies – they are best described as varieties within types, and of course, there IS some melding of lines, because mountain people did not breed for blueblood purebreds; instead they bred dogs that fit a certain type and function to others of the same type. Therefore you see ancient Native American breeds, Carolina (Shell-Heap) Dogs, and a number of “cur” and “fiest” breeds. Many of the cur breeds, such as Melungeon Curs, Black-mouthed Curs, and Catahoula Leopard Curs, descend in part from ancient Native American breed types, later crossed with the ancient molosser type guard and hunting dogs brought to this continent by settlers and explorers as much as five hundred years ago. Some of these breeds also have Red Wolf, Black Wolf, and Algonquin Wolf crosses in their history.

    Then beginning about three hundred years ago, people of western European descent began exploring and settling the Appalachians, and of course their dogs came with them – mastiff types such as boarhounds (now called Great Danes), large scenthounds such as foxhounds and bloodhounds, sighthounds such as greyhounds and wolfhounds, and shepherd dogs and flock guardians. All these animals can and do interbreed, and they left their stamp on the various indigenous types of dogs.

    But in the last fifty years or so, there has been a massive dumping of purebred dogs … Dalmatians, Rottweilers, Shepherds, Pit Bull Dogs – you name it. Because people fall for the premise that AKC registration means something, and because AKC registered dogs are so readily available, people buy them by the hundreds of thousands. Then when the inbred AKC collie doesn’t turn out to be Lassie, or the shepherd to be RinTinTin, or that cute little cocker that looks just like Lady turns out to be a biter with demodectic mange, the people dump that dog in the woods, take their credit card down to the mall pet store, and get another one. The dumped dogs are almost always reproductively intact, and so they add a new litter to the feral dog problem at least once a year.

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