Animal mutilation and speculation in Colorado

Livestock mutilations shake up Gunnison ranching community.

In recent weeks, a horse was shot and had its head skinned at the LeValley Ranch property, which is part of the Esty Ranch holdings about eight miles east of Gunnison. The horse also had its tongue and anus removed.

Less than two months ago, a prize heifer in the same heavily traveled area just off of Colorado 50 and Colorado 114 had its tongues, lips and anus removed.

“To me it looks like a ritualistic issue. Either that, or they are high on drugs. There is just no logical explanation for it,” said Esty Ranch owner Mike Clarke.

Two other incidents took place on other ranches in that vicinity in May and July.

The four mutilations have prompted the Gunnison County Stockgrowers Association to offer a $500 reward for any information that will lead to a conviction. The Colorado State Patrol has also been alerted to watch for strange activities in that area.


Tip: Fortean Times Breaking News

I noticed a few things with this report. First, there was thankfully no mention of UFO sightings or alien experimentation. But, there was no veterinarian quoted, just ranch people. So, how do we know for sure it was not predators. They were shot, they said, but how do we know that too? It could be some sick individual(s), certainly. And that is worrisome. But the better route would be to have the animals examined by a professional and not just speculate that it’s a person high on drugs.

More: (9-Aug-2012) Ben Radford (who has researched animal carcasses with regards to the chupacabra legend),  has written up this story for Discovery News.

In many cases mundane explanations have been found for initially mysterious animal deaths. For example ranchers and police in Colorado’s El Paso county were baffled by the strange deaths of 16 horses and mules in a pasture in 2005.

Like the animals at the Esty Ranch, authorities at first believed that the animals had been shot because some carcasses were found with what appeared to be bullet wounds. No other obvious injuries or marks were found on the animals, making the deaths all the more mysterious. A more thorough medical examination revealed no trace of bullets in the wounds. The injuries were superficial and could not have killed the animals.

Finally veterinary investigators concluded that most of the animals, if not all of them, had in fact been killed by lightning. The mysterious “bullet wounds” never existed.

  4 comments for “Animal mutilation and speculation in Colorado

  1. Geoff
    August 8, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Could have been shot and left by vandals and then scavengers coming in to take the meaty parts. No UFOs, Satanists, or bathsalters needed.

  2. Kristen
    August 11, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    I have always been fascinated by these kinds of stories. Now that I live in a rural area and know a lot of farmers, I understand why they never get real veterinarians to look at these kinds of incidents. Vets are very expensive to call out on a farm visit, and most farmers act as their own vets unless it’s a valuable animal they are trying to save. This can also lead them to an inflated sense of expertise in all veterinary matters.

    I always wonder, what’s the deal with the tongue and anus removal? And a horse with it’s head skinned? I had a deer hit on the road by our farm one summer, and I made repeated visits out to see the body as nature took it’s course, and it was fascinating – if gruesome – but nothing ever looked ‘skinned’, and I didn’t see anything happen that I would have reported as a ‘mutilation’. Though I’m sure it depends on what’s been eating it.

    • Chew
      August 11, 2012 at 11:34 AM

      The deal is its maggots. NatGeo “Is It Real”‘s episode on chupacabra recounted the story of an Arkansas sheriff who got a dead cow and watched what happened to it. This link will take you to the start of that segment: http://youtu.be/Li80_Rb7nnM#t=1829s

    • LovleAnjel
      August 13, 2012 at 1:33 PM

      The tongue and anus are soft, tasty, and right by orifices that lead to the soft, tasty internal bits of a carcass. Blowflies lay their eggs there first, and the maggots go to town pretty quickly. Blowflies can smell a carcass minutes after death, and track it from several miles away. Basically a critter dies and half the flies in the county are there within the first day.

      It’s not unusual for the skin to decay away from the nose or snout, where it’s relatively thin and by an orifice full of blowfly eggs (the Montauk monster, for example). Once that’s gone, the rest of the skin will often shrink or peel back. This can look like the head has been purposefully skinned.

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