It's not safe to be man's best friend right now in southern Idaho. Nearly 40 dogs have disappeared since November, KPVI reports, and authorities fear they're meeting grisly fates. "The dogs seem to vanish into thin air," animal shelter director Debbie Blackwood tells Reuters. The disappearances became especially troubling when authorities found a German shepherd that appeared to have been killed in what Blackwood terms a "ritualistic execution"; its head had been bashed in with a rock and its body draped in purple cloth.
The Humane Society is now offering a $5,000 reward for information on that death. Still, it's unclear if that dog has any link to the disappearances. Dogs have gone missing from private yards, been released from chains, or simply never returned home, and Blackwood says two dog owners have reported seeing strangers try to lure their pets into a car. "Animals go missing every day," the head of Idaho's Humane Society says. "What's disturbing about this trend is that there is absolutely no trace of them."