COURTESY PHOTO/CHUCK ZUKOWSKI -- A cow owned by Jim Garren was found mutilated on his ranch near Walsenburg.
Trinidad and Walsenburg ranchers find dead cow, calf.
By ANTHONYA. MESTAS
THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
A cow on a ranch near Walsenburg was found with its udders cut off and a calf on a ranch near Trinidad was found missing the entire center of its body as well as its ears.
A similar mutilation was discovered March 8 on a pasture near the Purgatoire River, just west of the small town of Weston. That cow was found dead by rancher Mike Duran with its udders and reproductive organs surgically removed from its body.
The most recent case happened on Jim Garren's ranch.
Garren said Tuesday that he last saw his cow alive on Friday afternoon at his spread 12 miles southeast of Walsenburg in Las Animas County. Garren said the next day at around 2:30 p.m. his ranch manager was feeding the herd and noticed his cattle count was off by one. After looking around in areas where cows had grazed previously, Garren said his ranch hand spotted the animal dead under a cedar tree.
"The only thing that we could tell about her was that her udder had been surgically removed. There were no other injuries to that cow," Garren said.
He said the ground around the cow was never disturbed and there was no trauma to the cow's head or body.
"We searched and searched and we could not find blood on the ground or on the cow. I just can't understand how anyone could surgically remove a part from an animal and not spill some blood," he said.
Garren said that while doing a quick walk around looking for evidence on Saturday, his staff spotted the cow's newborn calf.
Garren said the calf had to have been born at least 10 hours before the mother cow was killed.
"You know I just can't explain this. I've had animals killed on my ranch by mountain lions before and coyotes, but nothing like this. It is truly strange.
"I don't see how any human could have possibly done this without leaving footprints or some prints where the cow may have struggled. It looks like she just laid down and died," Garren said.
Rancher Tom Miller, who runs 80 head of cattle about 14 miles east of Trinidad on U.S. 350, found one of his calves dead near a feed tub on March 17. He found it in an area where cows congregate to eat twice daily.
Miller said that the herd appeared normal the day before in the late afternoon when the animals were being fed by the ranchers. The calf was found the next morning roughly 5 feet from a feed tub laying dead with only its spinal column, head and legs left behind.
"It's the strangest thing I've ever seen," Miller said.
Miller said the only thing holding the calve's back legs to the body was the hide.
"I cut the hide and the legs just fell off. All the bones were broken. It was just strange," Miller said. "An animal just doesn't clean out a carcass like that in one night. It would take several days to do something like that."
Miller said about 10 years ago he found another one of his cows mutilated. That cow had its ears, tongue, eyes and reproductive organs removed.
In 1995, Duran said he found a cow that had been mutilated on his property in a similar way.
The mutilations never have been solved.
"I really don't know what it is. I think maybe it was a UFO. According to the circumstances, that is what it seems like," Miller said.
Miller said it would be too difficult for a human to take a calf away from its mother cow.
"The cows are too protective. If you went for a calf, the cow would be on top of you.
"There are just too many strange things here," Miller said.
Chuck Zukowski, an independent UFO investigator from Colorado Springs, has investigated all three cattle mutilations in the area.
"These mutilations have the tendency of happening a few at a time. So it is not uncommon that there are three here this month," Zukowski said.
Zukowski, who has been a UFO and cow mutilation investigator for more than 20 years, said that all three cases fit the criteria to be called an unknown phenomenon.
"These two cows and this calf do not fit the norm of a normal death or a predator death. This is the first thing we look at," Zukowski said.
In all three cases, Zukowski said there was no blood around the cattle where they laid.
"If a predator got to these cattle, there would be blood around somewhere, " he said.
Sightings of UFOs and strange, unmarked, black helicopters sometimes coincide with most cattle mutilation cases across the country.
Zukowski said that the night Miller lost his calf, he received a report of a dark triangular craft flying over Colorado Springs.
"A witness told me that the craft was coming from the southeast. That means it was coming from the Walsenburg/Trinidad area. We are in the process of trying to understand how fast this object was going to see if it could have been in that area," Zukowski said.
"It's a big speculation and we are trying to grasp at straws, but we are trying to find anything we can to relate these occurrences."
Zukowski said that whatever killed the cow and removed the udders on Garren's ranch was not interested in a newborn calf.
"Would a predator attack a 1,200 pound animal for food, when a newborn calf lay helplessly 50 feet away?" Zukowski asked.
Zukowski also is a member of the Mutual UFO Network, an international nonprofit group that investigates UFOs and other strange phenomena for the public.
"I am the biggest skeptic to start with on these cases. I need to be sure before I start saying what I think it is.
"I can tell you that it is very strange and doesn't seem possible by humans," Zukowski said.
The thousands of reported cattle mutilations in the United States and around the world have spawned theories about aliens sent to Earth to slice up cows.
The phenomena in Colorado began in the late 1960s when farmers in the San Luis Valley began reporting mutilated cattle and horses, Zukowski said.
The circumstances surrounding cattle mutilations were different than anything the local authorities had ever investigated. At the time, satanic cults were blamed.
Reports of cattle mutilations spread throughout the Midwest and even into Canada. Paranoia and speculation about the deaths ran rampant.
"All these years later not one person has been prosecuted for this. We don't know what has killed these animals," Zukowski said.
"Hopefully we can find out what happened, but it doesn't look too promising. This is not something we are used to," Garren said.
"I really hope somebody can figure out what is happening to these things. It's scary," Miller said.