A mysterious mountain man was found living in the wild with a pack of dogs who he howled to from across the forest.

Tony ditched civilisation in the US for life in a forest where he formed a remarkable family bond with 31 pooches, who he slept beside for warmth during bitterly cold winter months.

The so-called 'Mountain Man' as dubbed by locals spent an incredible 16 years away from society out in the Natchez Trace national park in the state of Tennessee.

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Filmed with shaggy grey hair and wearing a ripped hoodie, cargo trousers and boots, Tony somehow survived without a roof over his head.

Speaking in 2016 about the relationship Tony built with stray dogs, Scotlund Haisley from Animal Rescue Corp told News Channel 5: "This was the only family he knew and loved."

Describing Tony's animalistic howl, Haisley said: "They would come from deep out of the woods from many directions to him. It was a tremendous sight to be seen. I'd never seen anything like it.

"He slept with these dogs. Can you imagine how warm he was just piled in with these dogs."

Living rough without critically jeopardising his health could only go on for so long, however, and Tony agreed to accept help but on one unbreakable condition.

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The Mountain Man demanded that each of his 31 four-legged pals were taken in by Animal Rescue Corp and put up for adoption so they could live out their own lives in a loving family home.

News Channel 5 cameras rolled as Tony, whose face was covered in dirt in a supposed celebration, called out to all of his dogs to be taken away and seen to by vets.

Haisley said: "He was emotional. He was happy. He was excited. You can see the combination of triumph and sadness all in that same image of his face."

After being taken to a temporary shelter, Haisley said: "Nearly 100% of these dogs are very sweet and want human contact."

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One of the dogs found in a bad way had her leg amputated by vets to save further damage being done and happily recovered, ready to be re-homed.

Tony refused to give an interview at the time and where he is now has not been reported by the local media in Tennessee.

Viewers of the News Channel 5 report admitted to being deeply moved by Tony's love for animals.

One person wrote: "This man was not alone he had more love than most people will ever know."

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A second said: "When a man makes a pact with animals it is rarely broken. Tony never left his family of dogs for fortune and fame, he gave them a friend that would stay and help them cope with their world.

"People like Tony are few and far between because most people have ulterior motives. Trust and companionship, that’s everything to me."

"That must’ve been heartbreaking to part with those dogs," a third commented. "I can only hope and pray that each and every one of these dogs found homes with owners that love them as much as he did."

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