Updated: Friday, 04 Sep 2009, 6:30 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 04 Sep 2009, 6:30 PM EDT
WAKEFIELD, Va. - Under baby blue skies and puffy white clouds, surrounded by tall emerald trees and lush green pastures... streaks of blood-red carnage.
The Murphy family awoke on their peaceful farm in Sussex County Friday morning to make a gruesome discovery. Eleven of their farm animals had been mutilated and killed in the middle of the night, and the Murphy's never heard a sound.
"It was devastating," said Edwin Murphy whose family established the farm on Rocky Hock Rd. in 1851. "This was gruesome, like a war zone."
Edwin was the first in the family to step out into the pasture and find that someone or something had torn all of their animals to shreds. Brutus the cow, two goats, three chickens and five ducks... all dead.
"One of the goats was completely turned inside out, alot of the internal organs were missing," huffed Edwin. "They were attacked from the front and the rear at the same time."
These were not typical livestock. The Murphy family says they were pets, like cats and dogs are to most people.
"The chickens and ducks were hatched here, raised from little ones on up. And the cow, I received him as a small calf and bottle-fed him. He walks on a leash, interacts with all the young'uns. We hand feed him on a daily basis," said Edwin.
His wife, Lorraine, was inside asleep when Edwin ran into the bedroom. He was frantic.
"He came running in, 'Oh my God get up!! All the animals have been mutilated right there in the yard!!'" said Lorraine, her eyes starting to well up with tears. "So immediately I jumped up and ran out and we found a massacre. It looked like something you would see in a horrible movie."
The Murphys called 911 and soon two Sussex County Sheriff's deputies were standing over the dismembered animals. Before long a local animal control officer and a state wildlife biologist were on the scene as well. Investigators examined the mangled animal carcasses and several paw prints left behind by the killers.
"They told us it was either a pack of wild dogs or some coyotes that killed our animals," said Edwin.
Now the Murphys want to protect others from a similar attack.
"This is just heartwrenching. We want to make the local community aware so they can take precautions so they don't have to go through the devastating ordeal that we have had to go through today," said Lorraine. "Whatever did this to our animals, if it can do that to a 400 pound cow, it can do anything to a child, an adult, it does not matter."
While local animal control officers continue to investigate the attacks, the Murphys have begun digging eleven graves for their beloved animals.
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