Yes, really. I’ve never heard anything like this since the Chupacabra hit Mexico. I was living in Monterrey, Mexico at the time and found the shocking news hard to believe. Goats were found dead and drained of blood with puncture wounds decorating their dessicated hides.

Ultimately, the Chupacabra thing proved to be an overblown local phenomenon with no legs beyond the superstitious spheres that spawned the rumors—it petered out over the months that followed.

But this is different. This is happening in Germany, home of the meticulous and the rational—a place where superstition is considered more akin to conspiracy theory. Interestingly enough, it’s also a land where backyard rabbit keeping is always in vogue, though I’m not 100% sure some of these lagamorphs are not intended for human consumption (this is Continental Europe, after all).

OK so down to brass tacks: It seems that someone is killing backyard bunnies in horrifying ways. The rabbits are beheaded and exsanguinated then left in plain view for owners to discover.

Owners of more than 30 pet rabbits in the sleepy towns of the Ruhr Valley have been shocked to find their rabbits thus murdered. And children in a local school zone were treated to the sight of several beheaded bodies in a pit.

Cheeky allusions to Glen Close aside, this is a truly frightening prospect for anyone who loves their creatures and cares for them with maternal precision.

Authorities are taking the killing seriously, using satellite images to locate rabbit hutched homes and inform residents of the wave of animal cruelty taking place in their neighborhoods. After all, a demented serial killer of rabbits may well progress to murdering humans, maybe children.

Rabbit lovers have taken to bringing their rabbits inside or to hiding their hutches in backyard forested areas to thwart the predator(s). Locks adorn hutches in the towns of Witten and Dortmund.

It’s hard to conceive of hysteria afflicting Germany over the deaths of a few rabbits but the neighbors are scared—and rightfully so. If my goats became the target of such criminals I’d take to keeping them locked in indoor crates overnight—and I doubt my local Miami press would look beyond the Chupacabra myth, much less contemplate aerial photographs to help me solve the mystery and apprehend the guilty parties. That knowledge is enough to make me wish I lived in Germany.