Walkers near the south west town of Perpignan made a horrific discovery at the weekend, when they stumbled across several sheep lying dead by the path.
It soon became clear that the sheep had not perished through natural causes.
On closer inspection they had been abused and then slaughtered at the hands of humans, French news site Direct Matin reports. After being sexually abused, the animals were stabbed, burned, strangled with wire, had their fleeces torn off, stoned, then had limbs amputated, the newspaper says.
All tags were removed from the animals so they could not be identified. The head of a local animal welfare charity has filed a complaint with police, who in turn has launched an appeal for witnesses and information.
Local newspaper Midi Libre reported there were beer bottles strewn around the scene of the massacre.
The slaughter of the sheep took place on the same night that a horse was mutilated and killed at an equestrian centre in the Loire region, although authorities are not yet linking the two incidents.
The animal was found butchered in a field near the village of Usson-en-Forez in what police believe may have been a satanic ritual.
Pepsi, as the horse was named, was mutilated in a case of “unprecedented savagery” according to reports in the French press.
The animal was found lying in a field with its eyeballs removed, nipples torn off, knees slashed and with its ears ripped. The horses mane had also been cut off.
The fact the slaughter came just a few days before the feast of Saint-Winebald on January 7th, which is a key date in the satanic calendar, has given police to believe the animal was killed and mutilated as part of a ritual. There were also reports of horses being massacred in Britain, the French press noted.
France’s leading animal right’s charity the Brigitte Bardot Foundation is set to file a complaint with police.
The killings come almost a year after farmers in south west France were left baffled by the mysterious case of what appeared to be a serial cow killer.
In a bid to stem the bloodletting farmers took to patrolling their fields at night armed with loaded guns. (see link)