Form 97-AR
Date: Tuesday, 11 Oct 2005

From: Joan Woodward, Animal Reaction Specialist
Subject: Salto, Uruguay, February 18, 1977

Cat: 4


Animal Reaction Feature:

 Reportedly this was the most interesting of about a dozen UFO events that occurred during February and March of 1977 on this 3,000-acre ranch.


Topo, 3-year-old, 60 pound, black and brown police dog and watchdog, routinely accompanied his owner, rancher Tonna.  At 4 a.m., Tonna, accompanied by Topo, was bringing 80 cows into the milking barn that was lit by generator-powered lights.  At about 4:10 am the generator cut out and in the dark Tonna saw a bright light at the end of the barn.  Thinking “fire” he and Topo ran toward the area.  Tonna heard a noise (not described) and saw a ‘fire” disc, like two plates facing each other.  At this point, the cows were running away, and all the dogs on the ranch were barking. The object moved across the barnyard with a rocking motion and hovered about 65 feet over trees about 330 feet from the barn, and then moved closer to the ground hovering over a disinfecting bath used for the cattle. 


Tonna and Topo walked a few feet toward the object, which was now glowing bright orange.  It turned and drifted slowly toward them, coming to a stop about 20 feet above the ground.  It was shining with a bright light that lit up the barnyard.  Topo ran toward the object as if to attack, but suddenly he stopped about 15 feet from it, sat looking up at it and began howling.   Tonna, about 65 feet from the object, saw three beams of lightning-like light on each side of it, and he noted that when the object had turned toward him, he had felt electric shocks over his body and an intensive heat causing him to put his arm up to protect his face. He was frightened and felt he couldn’t move.


After several minutes the object moved away turning from bright orange to red.  The entire incident lasted about 10 minutes.


Sound was reported but not described and its duration is unknown. 


EM effects were reported (generator).  The generator was reported to restart after the UFO departed but to not produce electricity as the wires were burned out.  


Physiological effects were reported: Tonna’s feeling of immobility and a burn-like red area on his arm that he had raised to shield his eyes.


Topo reportedly did not eat or drink after the incident, and uncharacteristically stayed in the house.  He was found dead 2 or 3 days later in the spot where he had sat looking up at the object.


There is some question as to whether an autopsy was performed on Topo (See Pratt).


[The autopsy as described (see references below) states that the fat on the dog’s back under the skin was liquefied and then moved through the pores of the undamaged skin to solidify on the outside.  I presented the following question to two independent veterinarians:

If fat were liquefied under the skin, is it possible for it to move or seep through undamaged skin?  Both expressed the opinion that this is not possible. 


Fat issue aside, other aspects of the autopsy, such as a yellowed liver and internal bleeding,  suggested fatty liver disease to one veterinarian.  Although this was mentioned as a possibility by the second veterinarian, she thought rat poisoning would be her first area of investigation. —jw]  



A.P.R.O. Bulletin, V.26, no. 2, Dog Dies After UFO Incident, p. 1, 3.

Hall, Richard H., 2001, The UFO Evidence, Vol. II, Lanham, MD, Scarecrow Press, p. 222-223.    

Pratt, Bob, online, at:


Reference: Hall, Richard  H., 2001, The UFO Evidence, Vol. II, Lanham, MD, Scarecrow Press, pages 222-223:


Glowing Orange Disc Causes Severe Injuries, Leaves Physical Traces; or This Ain’t Kansas Topo


February 18, 1977: Salto, Uruguay.  4:00 A.M.  Rancher Angel Maria Tonna, 52, was herding cows to the milking shed when the generator-powered building lights suddenly went off.  Tonna and his watchdog, Topo, ran to investigate a bright light that appeared at the east end of the barn.  As the cows milled around wildly, dogs barking, Tonna heard some unspecified noise and saw a hovering disc-shaped object (“like two plates facing each other”).

     The disc began moving with a rocking motion, alternately moving and hovering, and at one point broke off some tree branches.  Glowing bright orange, it moved toward Tonna and his watchdog, then stopped about 20 feet (6 meters) above the ground next to a water tank, its light illuminating the whole barnyard.

     Topo ran toward the object as if to attack, but suddenly stopped and sat down about 15 feet (4.5 meters) from it and began howling.  Tonna saw six beams of lightning-like light, three on each side of the object, and felt electric shock, intense heat, and paralysis.  Finally the object turned red, began moving, and gradually accelerated out of sight.  The generator resumed function, but without producing electricity because the wires were burned out.

     Physical traces left included broken trees, circular markings on the ground, one a 35-foot (10-meter) circle containing burned grass and three circular impressions arranged like a triangle within the circle.  Tonna experienced severe skin irritation on his right arm, the one he put up to shield his eyes.  Topo stopped eating, became lethargic, and died three days later.  He was found dead on the spot where he had howled at the UFO.  An autopsy by a veterinarian found strong evidence of extreme internal heating. (40)


(40) MUFON UFO Journal (April 1978): 3-5.  Investigator: Mario Rodriguez;

       Hall (1988), 290-91. [Uninvited Guests, Aurora Press, Santa FE, NM—jw]