Cow deaths remain a mystery |

Cow deaths remain a mystery

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

How two cows in South Summit died this month is a mystery.

Ears were removed from both animals before their owners discovered their bodies, Summit County Sheriff’s Office Detective Ron Bridge said.

Officers believe the first cow, which was missing an ear, died in Francis during the night of May 16, Bridge said.

A second report, May 17, indicated a cow on Boulderville Road had died and had its ear removed.

"Some of this might be artifacts of agriculture," Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds said. "It may be a non-event."

The owner of the cow in Francis found his cow dead on the side of a road, Bridge said.

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"The ear, which held the owner’s tag, was removed from the cow," Bridge said.

Ranchers sometimes cut slits in the ears of cows as a way to identify their livestock.

"It’s similar to a brand," said Sterling Banks, who oversees the Utah State University Extension in Summit County. "Cattlemen will have an earmark."

Cows are at the center of several investigations underway on the East Side.

Last week, somebody dumped four dead calves onto the side of the road near Henefer, Edmunds said.

"I don’t have a lot of information on that," the sheriff added. "What often happens with these is these farmers will have still-born calves, and we don’t know that those are malicious at all."

Meanwhile, the owner of the cow that died in Oakley said his animal had been sick, Bridge said.

"Its ear was bit off by an animal," Bridge said in a telephone interview.

But the causes of death for both cows are unknown, he explained.

"We don’t know how these cows died. There were no bullet wounds, there were no stab wounds," Bridge said.

The two cases so far have not been linked, he said.

"The conspiracy theories will be left for another day," Bridge joked. "We’ll keep it as an active case, but that’s as far as it goes."