Investigators in Arizona have been looking into the mysterious deaths of cattle that started occurring more than two weeks ago.
On Sept. 9, two dead cows were discovered near Heber, Ariz. by a local rancher who reported the incident to the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies from the department went out to the area to investigate the cows’ deaths.
Then on Sept. 11, a report of 14 more dead cattle was made to the Sheriff’s Office with the cattle being in the same area as the first two dead cows. The next day the State Veterinarian’s Office helped evaluate the situation by conducting necropsies and collecting samples for lab analysis.
Initially it was reported that the deaths were caused by cattle being shot, but these claims were later changed. It was later believed that the cattle could have been poisoned by a naturally occurring ecological conditions in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest where the cattle graze.
Soon more reports of dead cattle by other ranchers in the Heber and Overgaard area revealed a total of 24 cattle had died.
Lab results have not determined what the cause of death was and the State Veterinarian’s Office is still conducting tests.
The investigation is ongoing by the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Arizona Department of Livestock, Arizona Game and Fish and U.S. Forest Service.