Fwd = Mutilation of cattle leaves ranchers puzzled
- Forwarded by: fwestra@...
Original Date: 31 May 2001 10:33:10 -0000
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Monday, May 28, 2001
Mutilation of cattle leaves ranchers puzzled
BRYAN, Texas (AP) -- Ranchers in Burleson County aren't quite sure who
or what is responsible for a string of mysterious cattle deaths over
much of the last decade, but they suspect it's some sort of cult.
In most of the cases, which happen about once or twice a year, the
bulls' abdomens have been sliced open and their genitals are missing.
Sometimes, the tongues and internal organs have been removed. Adding
to the ranchers' frustration, the valuable beef is always left to rot.
Burleson County authorities say they've been unable to link any of the
deaths in this rural county about 100 miles northeast of Houston.
"If we could find any indication humans are involved, we would do
more," Burleson County Sheriff Gene Barber told the Bryan-College
Station Eagle for its Sunday editions. "It is a mystery to me."
Barber said his investigators haven't found any of the telltale signs
of human involvement -- tire tracks, shoe prints, shell casings or
cigarette butts. So they list natural causes as the reason for the
But rancher Johnny Lyon is convinced a cult mutilated his prized
Charolais bull just to take its blood and organs.
W.H. Ryan also believes a cult killed his bull about four years ago.
He notes that the animal was killed around Halloween and its genitals
and internal organs were missing, but the meat wasn't taken.
Officials with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association
think most of the peculiar deaths can be chalked up to skunks, possums
and other varmints that prey on animals that die of natural causes.
Larry Gray, the association's director of law enforcement and market
inspection services, said these animals often have razor-sharp teeth
that make incisions like a knife and tend to eat the softest tissue,
including the internal organs, genitals, tongue and udder.
He notes that if an animal appears bloodless, gravity has likely
caused it to pool at the bottom of the carcass.
Gray said he's never seen a proven case of cult involvement in these
"Usually those people prey on dogs or cats, or poultry sometimes," he
He suggests the ranchers contact local law enforcement if they believe
their animal's death is suspicious, although funds for investigating
animal crime are often limited.
Meanwhile, ranchers like Lyon are growing impatient -- and scared.
"What if I had come out to my ranch at the time people were there?" he
said. "What would they do to me? That tells me I need to carry a gun
everywhere I go, shoot first and ask questions later."
Copyright 2001, Abilene Reporter-News / Texnews / E.W. Scripps
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