Authorities are still investigating bulls that were slaughtered on a ranch and are offering a reward for any information.
First, a bull was found dead in Oregon with its tongue and sex organs removed and all of the animal’s blood had been drained. A few days later, four more bulls were found within a mile and a half of each other. Law enforcement officials believe someone killed the animals and the motive remains a mystery. Until they can track down who did it, they are asking that all ranch hands travel in pairs and carry firearms to protect themselves.
Harney County sheriff’s Deputy Dan Jenkins, who is leading the investigation, has heard many theories – including that scavenger creatures or bugs attacked the bulls, UFOs mutilated them, and people slaughtered them to financially harm the ranchers.
“If anyone has concrete information or knows of any cases that have been solved in the past, that would definitely be helpful,” Jenkins said.
Colby Marshall, vice president of the Silvies Valley Ranch that owned the bulls, stated, “We think that this crime is being perpetuated by some sort of a cult. To lose a completely healthy animal would be an oddity. To lose five young, very healthy, in great shape, perfect bulls that are all basically the same age…that is so outside the bounds of normal activity.”
He added, “Personally, I would lean more toward the occult, where people for whatever reason –whether it’s a phase of the moon or whatever rituals they’re going to do with their beliefs – are coming to different areas and doing that.”
However, Marshall also suspects the bulls were killed to get the organs of the free-ranging bulls rather than opting to get the parts cheaply or free at a slaughterhouse. He said he thinks some people are going to a lot of trouble to get the parts from a ranch instead. It’s still unclear why they would choose to go this route.
The bull carcasses are certainly bringing up bad memories. In the 1970s, there was a massive mutilation of livestock across most of west and Midwest. Thousands of cattle were killed, and the animals sex organs were removed. Ranchers were frightened and began to carry firearms. The FBI stepped in and began to investigate even though many of the killings were happening on tribal lands where the agency didn’t have jurisdiction. Then, it all just stopped.
Former FBI agent Kenneth Rommel, who headed the investigation, said there was “no indication that anything other than common predators were responsible.” Yet, it seems to be happening again.
Dave Bohnert, director of Oregon State University’s Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center in Burns, said he believes people killed the most recent bunch. Although, sometimes the destruction to the carcasses is caused by predators and bugs after the animal dies from natural causes.
“If people killed the bulls, a motive could be to financially harm the ranch,” he said.
The killings happened in July and authorities are still puzzled. Silvies Valley Ranch covers 140,000 acres in total. The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of anyone responsible, and the ranch owners are offering $25,000.