The discovery of a gruesome carcass on a Pembrokeshire beach has sparked off massive debate in the county as to its identity.
The Western Telegraph’s Facebook photograph of the animal body reached more than 65,000 people and attracted 650+ comments within hours of it being put up on Monday morning.
The corpse - the size of a large dog and with fierce-looking teeth and sharp claws - was pictured on Tenby’s South Beach by local resident Peter Bailey.
Speculation over its species began when he posted the photograph to the Spotted Tenby page on Facebook.
Mr Bailey, aged 27, was taking his dog for her evening walk across the beach just after 5.30pm on Friday evening when they came across the body,.
His 18-week-old Siberian Husky, Maisy, reacted dramatically to the discovery.
“She started acting out of character by howling and running round in circles,” Mr Bailey told the Western Telegraph. “I ran up to her to see if she was ok and then I came across this hideous-looking carcass.
“I could see it had little hair left on its decomposing body. Immediately I though it was a horse, but it had claws like a bear and a body of a pig.
“Suprisingly, it didn’t smell.”
Facebook users entered enthusiastically into the Western Telegraph’s request to ‘solve the mystery of the Beast from the East’, with suggestions including a sealion, bear, wild boar, horse, pig, hippo and ‘Simon Cowell‘, with badger and dog frequently recurring. There were even unfounded hints of a hoax, and links to YouTube footage of a similarly-strange animal body washed up on the riverbank in New York.
The Western Telegraph sent a photograph of the corpse to animal experts in the county, with Tenby vets suggesting it could be a badger and both Folly Farm and Pembrokeshire College’s Animal Care team believing that it is a dog.
“We all think it is a bull terrier- type dog due to the bridge in the head/nose, or a cross breed, due to the long hair,” said Animal Unit relief technician, Natasha Rees.
“Although better pictures would make it easier to identify, on what we can see, we think a dog that’s been in the water for a while.
“Animals that have been in the water for long periods of time swell up, become bloated, change colour and the hair comes away.
“It is definitely not a seal or marine animal as the limbs are too long and the teeth structure and the head does not match. Yes, the head looks like a horse, but the neck is too short.“even for a Shetland type horse and the limbs are not in the right position. Due to the recent winds from the east, it would have come from the mainland making it more possible for it to be a dog".
The carcass is believed to have been washed back out to sea.