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More Cows Found Shot

   |  Posted Jan 11th, 2006 @ 3:48pm


John Hollenhorst Reporting

More dead cows have been found in Tooele County, and the reward is going up for information about whoever it was that shot them.

A massacre of cows took place near the town of Vernon sometime shortly after Christmas. The offer of a reward has prompted numerous tips but, so far, no arrests.

Seven dead ones, that was Dick Johnson's count a few days ago. His cows were shot just after Christmas by trespassers with a high-powered rifle. Last weekend, Johnson found two more.

Dick Johnson, Rancher: "Must have been wounded enough that they just wandered off by themselves and died in the sagebrush."

Then they found a tenth, with ghastly wounds, which they took to the vet.

Dick Johnson: "This cow had suffered for a week and was still alive, and he had to put it down."

The perpetrators shot the lock off a gate, probably at night. They apparently drove through the herd, shooting Black Anguses. All the shot cows were pregnant.

Dick Johnson: "We need to catch these guys to put an end to this. I hope they're starting to squirm because we need to get 'em."

Johnson says he's used to losing two or three cows a year this way, but he's never seen a massacre on this scale.

Dick Johnson: "This is uncalled for; this is ridiculous."

Johnson is grateful that other ranchers and agricultural organizations have kicked in reward money. Today it jumped to $11,000.

Sheriff Frank Park, Tooele County: "It's a very high reward for around here, and hopefully it will stimulate somebody to say something."

The sheriff says the perpetrators are probably people who shoot just for fun.

Sheriff Frank Park: "We have a big problem with that. We have a problem with signs being shot up, personal property being shot up. But this case is very unusual because of the wanton nature of the destruction."

Johnson says it was a massacre and he describes it as a terroristic act.

Investigators say they do have some physical evidence and the growing reward has already started bringing in lots of tips.

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