5 bulls found dead in Oregon; then the story gets weird
By Andrew Selsky, Associated Press
via Intermountain Farm & Ranch - Oct 2, 2019
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The first dead bull was found in a timbered ravine in eastern Oregon. There was no indication it had been shot, attacked by predators or eaten poisonous plants.
The animal’s sex organs and tongue had been removed. All the blood was gone.
In the next few days, four more Hereford bulls were found within 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) in the same condition. There were no tracks around the carcasses.
Ranch management and law enforcement suspect that someone killed the bulls. Ranch hands have been advised to travel in pairs and to go armed.
Ever since the bulls were found over several days in July, Harney County sheriff’s Deputy Dan Jenkins has received many calls and emails from people speculating what, or who, might be responsible.
The theories range from scavengers such as carrion bugs eating the carcasses to people attacking the animals to cause financial harm to ranchers.
Jenkins, who is leading the investigation that also involves state police, has run into only dead ends and has no witnesses.
“If anyone has concrete information or knows of any cases that have been solved in the past, that would definitely be helpful,” he said.
Colby Marshall, vice president of the Silvies Valley Ranch that owned the bulls, has another theory: “We think that this crime is being perpetuated by some sort of a cult.”
The case recalls mutilations of livestock across the U.S. West and Midwest in the 1970s that struck fear in rural areas. Thousands of cattle and other livestock ranging from Minnesota to New Mexico were found dead with their reproductive organs and sometimes part of their faces removed.
Ranchers began carrying guns. Folks said helicopters had been heard around the kill sites. A federal agency canceled an inventory by helicopter of its lands in Colorado, worried that it would get shot down.
A couple of U.S. senators urged the FBI to investigate, according to FBI documents. After saying it lacked jurisdiction, the FBI agreed to investigate cases on tribal lands. But the mutilations stopped.
Former FBI agent Kenneth Rommel, who headed the investigation, said there was no indication that anything other than common predators were responsible.
Cases have emerged sporadically since then. In the 1980s, a few cows were found dead and mutilated in eastern Oregon. More recently, there have been cases on a ranch near Flagstaff, Arizona.
Some of the mutilations can be attributed to natural causes... However, the state of the carcasses could be attributable to nature, said Bohnert, who is not officially investigating the case...