A spate of macabre and unexplained animal mutilations around the United States have many law enforcement officials and veterinarians scratching their heads in befuddlement.

It doesn’t look normal.

Those were the only words New Franklin police lieutenant Ed Klein could muster to describe the grizzly scene he witnessed. On 9:00 a.m. on Friday the 13th, police in New Franklin, Ohio were notified when a pile of extremely mutilated deer carcasses was discovered beside a rural country road. The dismembered state of the carcasses has made identification difficult, but police estimate that the bodies of at least three deer were found. Police stated that the carcasses do not appear to have been butchered for meat, but that entire limbs and organs torn from the carcasses haphazardly. Some of the deer carcasses were wrapped in duct tape, and some had holes bored into their chests and abdomens. Police are still searching for any clues in the matter.

The fact that the usable meat was left behind makes these mutilations bizarre.

West of Ohio, residents of Richmond, Missouri were horrified by the discovery of an unidentified, skinned animal carcass found on a busy city street.

For whatever reason, someone dumped it in town.

According to Richmond Police Chief Chad Burnine, both the perpetrator and the reasons behind the very public disposal of its carcass remain unknown. After veterinarians examined the carcass, it was determined that it was likely a coyote.

Trapping coyotes is legal year-round in Missouri, although dumping skinned carcasses on busy city streets is not.

Farther west, San Simeon, California came across a grizzly scene on a local beach on January, 17th when beachgoers spotted another skinned carcass lying on the sand. While initial reports claimed the animal was a horse, law enforcement officials determined after examination that the animal was actually a zebra. A zebra in California. It turns out that a herd of 113 wild zebras roam the hillsides around the nearby Hearst Castle, the landmark mansion once owned by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.

The zebras run free to this day.

Hearst donated the castle - and its zebras - to the state of California, and now the certainly-not-domesticated animals run loose among San Simeon’s rolling hills. The dead, skinned zebra apparently was swept into a creek due to heavy rains and washed out to sea where it drowned. Once it washed up on the beach, some quick-thinking San Simeon resident apparently decided that a zebra skin rug was just what he or she needed to really tie the living room together. The identity of the opportunistic zebra skinner remains a mystery.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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