In recent weeks, a horse was shot and had its head skinned at the LeValley Ranch property, which is part of the Esty Ranch holdings about eight miles east of Gunnison. The horse also had its tongue and anus removed. Less than two months ago, a prize heifer in the same heavily traveled area just off of Colorado 50 and Colorado 114 had its tongues, lips and anus removed. Esty Ranch owner Mike Clarke said:
“To me it looks like a ritualistic issue. Either that, or they are high on drugs. There is just no logical explanation for it,”
Two other incidents took place on other ranches in that vicinity in May and July.
The four mutilations have prompted the Gunnison County Stockgrowers Association to offer a $500 reward for any information that will lead to a conviction. The Colorado State Patrol has also been alerted to watch for strange activities in that area. The Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office, the agency investigating the mutilations, did not return phone calls asking for comment.
Clarke’s ranch foreman, Allen Roper, told the Gunnison Country Times that the mutilated animals appeared to be shot, but no bullets were found and that the mutilations were done with knives and were not a result of predators.