Pondera deputies investigate mysterious cattle mutilation

As in all cattle mutilation cases in Montana since 1975, the skin from the cheek of this cow was removed with precision, as well as the reproductive organs and udder.

If there's a black market for bovine reproductive organs, someone in Pondera County is rolling in the moo-lah.

A mysterious cattle mutilation took place southwest of Valier last Wednesday evening, and it has left everyone at the Pondera County Sheriff's Department baffled.

According to Sheriff Tom Kuka, the cow was found next to the Miller Coulee Road on the Peterson Ranch. The skin from the left side of the jaw bone was removed, as well as all the reproductive organs and the udder. The cow had not bled out like it should, and all the cuts were precise and professional.

Kuka said there were no tracks around the carcass, and no signs of a struggle from the cow.

Deputies asked neighbors if they had seen or heard anything, but they came up empty-handed.

Kuka said strangely, no scavengers have been eating on the carcass.

"Someone saw a coyote in the area, but it has not eaten on the carcass," he said.

Cattle mutilations are not new to Montana, or Pondera County. Since the 62 cases of cattle mutilations near Great Falls between 1974 and 1977, Pondera County has had 15 to 20 occurrences between 2001 and 2006.

According to deputy Dick Dailey, this is the second mutilation occurring this month, with the first on a ranch near Conrad.

"I want a simple explanation for this," Kuka said. "But no one can give me one."

Anyone with information pertinent to this investigation is urged to contact Kuka at the Sheriff's Office at 271-4060.

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