ST. GEORGE — A $2,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the parties involved in the deaths of four cows – including two calves – killed since September while grazing near hunting areas.
One cow was killed in Garfield County, and three were in Iron County. The reward offer is part of a joint effort between the Utah Farm Bureau and the Utah Department of Agriculture.
In Garfield County, the cow was killed in one of the grazing zones located within Horse Valley, an area near the Panguitch Lake hunt unit, Garfield County Sheriff James Perkins told St. George News.
Perkins also said the incidents are being investigated by the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources.
Iron County Sheriff Ken Carpenter said the first of the three cows in Iron County was reportedly killed in September. A livestock expert from the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources was sent to the scene to examine the animal that Carpenter said was likely killed during archery season, as the investigation revealed that the animal died after being shot with some type of archery equipment.
The Iron County Sheriff’s office then received a second call last week reporting that two other cows were found dead. Both appeared to be “shot with either a bow, or more than likely, a rifle,” Carpenter said, adding that he had only limited details on the second incident but knew from the report that the act was deliberate.
The incidents involving the three cows took place in an area zoned for grazing within the Little Valley area in Iron County, which is in relative proximity to where the cow was killed in Garfield County.
While authorities have reason to believe the incidents are connected, Carpenter said, more will be revealed as the investigation progresses, but one thing is clear: The acts appear to be intentional and “the cows were killed for nothing.”
The animals were shot and then left to die where they fell, Carpenter said, and investigators believe that a hunter could possibly be involved, since the animals are grazing on property that is close to well-known hunting areas.
Aside from the inhumane aspect of the killings, Carpenter said there are also significant losses associated with the incidents. Moreover, the losses can accumulate exponentially in light of the fact that a cow not only has present value but that value grows over time as a female continues to birth calves over the course of its lifetime.
“So there is the loss suffered with that animal’s death, in addition to future losses with the calves that will never be born,” he said.
There are also other costs associated with maintaining the animals and keeping bloodlines intact, and those losses are borne by the owners, which can have a significant affect on them financially.
“We’re talking about people’s livelihoods here,” Carpenter said.
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