No Answers for Cattle Mutilations in Colorado

SAN LUIS, Southern Colorado: A string of calf mutilations earlier this month have left a local rancher and law enforcement scratching their heads. Rancher Manuel Sanchez has had four calves mutilated over a three-week span in a pasture he leases near Los Vallejos, just southeast of here, with the most recent victim coming on Nov. 16. In each case, Sanchez found his calves with skin peeled back and organs cleaned out from the rib cage.

He found no signs of human attackers such as ATV tracks or footprints in the pasture that’s guarded by two locked gates. Nor did he find any evidence of animal predators such as a coyote or a mountain lion. There were no blood pools near the animals, or drag marks on the ground. “There’s nothing really to go by,” said Sanchez, who’s ranched for nearly 50 years. “I can’t figure it out.”

Sgt. James Chavez, who serves as the public information officer for the Costilla County Sheriff’s Office, said a deputy and an undersheriff went to the pasture to investigate one of the killings. Chavez said the investigation revealed no indications of a predator attack and the lack of blood at the site made it highly unlikely that a person butchered it. “I’ve butchered a cow before and I know what kind of a mess it leaves,” he said.

Both Sanchez and Chavez think there have been other mutilations in the area that have gone unreported because of people’s unwillingness to talk about something so mysterious. Chavez, who’s worked in Costilla County for five years, also investigated mutilations when he was a sheriff’s deputy in Rio Grande County. Neither of the men believe aliens were responsible for the attack. But in the San Luis Valley, where a mutilated horse maintains celebrity status four decades after its death and a UFO watchtower graces the roadside near Hooper, some may look upward for an explanation of the incidents.

The day after Sanchez found his last calf mutilated, Chuck Zukowski came down from Colorado Springs to investigate. Zukowski, who investigated three cattle mutilations in Huerfano and Las Animas counties in March, hopes to establish a link between cattle mutilations and the existence of UFOs. But Zukowski’s report, which is posted on his Web site, ufonut.com, does not reach that conclusion. It does note, however, that the mutilation of Sanchez’s last calf was similar to one found on Tom Miller’s ranch near Trinidad. The only differences were that Sanchez’s calf was missing part of its tongue, while the Miller calf was missing both its ears.

Zukowski hopes to find a cow mutilation with more of the animal intact so he can send it to veterinary labs at Colorado State University for a necropsy. “We’re trying as much as we can to find a pattern,” he said in a phone interview with the newspaper, The Chieftain. In the meantime, Sanchez has sold off his 32 remaining calves out of fear more would get mutilated. He has yet to decide how he’ll manage the remaining 40 animals in his herd. “It’s a big loss for a small rancher,” he said.

Original copy:

By MATT HILDNER
THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
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One Response to “No Answers for Cattle Mutilations in Colorado”

  1. Thank you for this sad and interesting report. I am left pondering the possible motive for these actions.

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