South Dakota Cattle Poisoning Case Remains Mystery

After almost four months, authorities in South Dakota still don't know who killed 44 cattle or what they poisoned the cattle with in a water tank. ( Farm Journal )

In Miner County, South Dakota authorities are still trying to piece together how 44 head of cattle were killed by poisoning.

KELO TV reports that on Oct. 31, 2017, someone poisoned a water tank that Halloween night in a pasture holding 65 head of cattle.

The next morning ranchers Brenda and Bernard Donahue arrived at the rented pasture to find eight or nine head already dead.

The Donahue’s called their local veterinarian Tom Heirigs to begin looking into the deaths immediately. While examining the site Bernard walked over to the water tank to find it smelt strange.

"And we were probably after the fact 100 feet away from this water tank and you could smell rotten eggs or just ammonia type," Bernard says.

Heirigs says it burnt his nose smelling the water, it was bad enough to almost make him vomit. He believes the water had been poisoned.

The local sheriff’s office came out and started taking samples of the water to test.

Within the first hour of Heirigs arriving 22 cows had died and by the following day a total of 44 cattle had died, including a bull.

"I'm talking about a normal, good healthy animal looking you in the face and in 15 minutes is dead. And what was worse, is we couldn't do anything about it," Heirigs says.

In addition to having cattle killed the Donahues also had someone drive two steel posts into their combine. The landlord for the pasture also received a threatening letter.

"You two are the most hated two in the area...I know karma comes around....I hope you get what you deserve," the anonymous letter reads.

Thus far the Donahues estimated they’ve lost almost $100,000 and have spent additional money to insure what is left of their herd.

Local authorities still have not determined who committed the crime as the investigation stretches into nearly four months. They also don’t know what kind of poison was used.

"This will come out eventually.  It just may take some time. It might be a week from now or two years from now, but this is too big of a case not to come out," says Miner County Sheriff Lanny Klinkhammer.

A $5,000 reward is being offered by the Donahues to find the cattle killer.

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