Whidbey News-Times


Holy cow: Bovine mutilation leaves officials perplexed | Editorial

March 2, 2013 · Updated 3:20 PM

The horror.

Someone, or something, with a sharp instrument mutilated a dead cow on South Whidbey last week.

The county coroner, a federal wildlife specialist and other experts are convinced that a human hand was responsible for the precise incision and removal of the skin off half of the animal’s face.

Nobody can figure out how the black Angus mysteriously died, though it appeared that the cutting occurred postmortem.

The body was quickly buried. The only clue to the identity of the potential bovicide — a slayer of cattle — is a photo of a muddy footprint found near the carcass. Readers have described it as belonging to a miniature Sasquatch or a barefoot human. Bloggers are speculating about Satanic cults and space aliens.

It’s an odd crime. Because of this, many people may not take the innocent ruminant’s untimely demise seriously.

Thankfully, Island County Animal Control Officer Carol Barnes is on the case.

She took a multitude of crime-scene photos and asked several experts for help.

She examined the heifer’s orphaned calf and the rest of the small herd.

She tried to have the dead cow disinterred and examined, but the county doesn’t have the funding.

She’s keeping a sharp eye out for anyone carrying a half a cow’s face.

Barnes recognizes the weirdness of the case, but also the seriousness.

She’s convinced that a person scalped the cow’s face. She doesn’t know the motive, but she’s pretty sure it can’t be healthy.

Potential crimes were committed — trespassing, animal cruelty and theft.

It’s well known that cruelty to animals can be a precursor to crimes against people.

With little to go on, Barnes is hoping that someone in the community saw something or knows something that will help her out.

Anyone with information can reach her via the ICOM dispatch center at 360-679-9567.



— Jessie Stensland, Assistant Editor


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