Dead Calves Mystery
In Oregon Continues To
Baffle Officials
By Jim Witty
The Bulletin
Authorities are stumped as to who dumped 11 dead Holstein calves - skinned and mutilated - in the desert northeast of Millican over the weekend.
Why is high on their list, too.
Bend veterinarian Trish Kentner performed a necropsy Monday on two of the animals and discovered their sexual organs had been removed and they had an "unusually low" level of blood in their bodies, Central Oregon Humane Society chief Kimball Lewis said.
Kentner said she was able to determine that the calves were dead before they were skinned.
Tissue samples have been sent to Oregon State University for testing but, since the animals had likely been dead several days, Kentner is not hopeful the lab work will provide any answers.
A rancher found four of the dead calves Saturday a couple of miles north of Highway 20 at mile marker 29. On Sunday, a recreational vehicle user reported the other seven calves about a mile farther north.
The calves were discovered just a couple of miles from where 14 dead cattle and a pig with its legs cut off were found last March.
While wild theories of satanistic cults and alien skulduggery are swirling about Central Oregon, Lewis remains skeptical.
"I still emphasize there's probably a logical explanation," he said. "I'm thinking it's probably cattle that died after calving."
Sometimes ranchers will take the skin of a dead calf and drape it over another so the mother can identify with the scent, Lewis said.
"My guess is that's what's happened here," he said. "A lot of people are coming out of the woodwork on stuff like this. I'm not buying into it."
Lewis has received several phone calls about the finding, including one from a woman inviting him to be interviewed by late night talk show host Art Bell. He declined.
The topic of cattle mutilations linked by some imaginative theorists to bizarre and usually nefarious sources, has found fertile ground on the Internet. A recent computer search yielded 177,488 potential hits for the phrase cattle mutilation.


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