March 24, 2018
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Back-to-back shootings of pregnant livestock odd, but not linked, authorities say

Siobhan Bolinger/Smiling Hill Farm via AP | BDN
Siobhan Bolinger/Smiling Hill Farm via AP | BDN
This 2017 photo provided by Smiling Hill Farm shows Ava the goat with her two kids, Comet and Haley in Westbrook, Maine. Police are investigating the shooting death of Ava, which a Maine farm says happened on Feb. 18 during a snowstorm.
By Callie Ferguson, BDN Staff

The shooting deaths of two pregnant animals on different farms are odd, but not related, authorities say.

Cpl. John Macdonald of the Maine Warden Service said he couldn’t recall the last time an animal was found dead of an apparently intentional gunshot wound — let alone two in the same week.

The animals were reported dead three days apart, on different farms about 100 miles away from each other.

The Warden Service is not investigating links between a bullet found lodged in the head of an expectant cow on a Madison farm, and the shooting of a pregnant goat in Scarborough, MacDonald said.

[Popular Maine farm says someone shot pregnant goat]

“Just the method of how these things took place — they’re not the same,” Macdonald said, declining to explain further because the shootings are under investigation.

Farmer Clayton Tibbetts reported his slain cow to the Warden Service on Sunday, when a local taxidermist discovered a bullet in her head while removing her hide, Tibbetts said. He found the cow dead two days earlier, but believed it was due to natural causes because her wound wasn’t clearly visible, he said.

“She said, ‘I know what really killed your cow,’” recalled the 39-year-old cattle farmer, when the taxidermist reported finding “lead” in the cow’s skull. “She said, ‘yeah, your cow got shot right between the eyes.’”

Tibbetts found the cow’s 1,500-pound body in the pasture near a snowmobile trail that passes through the farmland, prompting the local snowmobile club to shut down the passage while authorities investigate. It was killed overnight, he said.

Also on Sunday, wardens and local police were called to Smiling Hill Farm in Scarborough to investigate the “bizarre” death of Ava, a 5-year-old goat that was due in the spring, according to farm manager Warren Knight.

“But we are hard-pressed to explain this situation. It’s outside of hunting season. This is just really bizarre,” Knight said.

A farm employee found her snow-covered body outside of a covered pen, far from the road in an area that is not accessible to the public, he said.

“This was a purposeful act,” he said, carried out overnight during the height of a snowstorm.

The Warden Service, which is investigating the killings along with other law enforcement agencies, said they don’t have leads in either case and are asking the public to come forward with any information.

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