Livestock are found abandoned on the range suffering from mutilations, often of an especially inhumane nature, unlikely to have been caused by any known predators. People have clearly been responsible for some, though few are identified. No conclusive explanations have as yet been found for others. The apparent randomness, lack of pattern, failure of guard dogs to bark, and other inexplicable features of such incidents, add to the uncertainty over cause or motive. There is very little evidence for "serial maiming", and when rewards have be issued for information on clustered attacks, none have been claimed. Sexual motives, person revenge and right-wing terrorism have all been mooted, though the practice remains as puzzling today as in past centuries.
Over 20,000 incidents of unexplained mutilation of livestock have been reported worldwide during the period 1960-1986.