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Bull found dead in Wheeler Co. latest in mysterious pattern

FOSSIL – The Wheeler County Sheriff’s Office is once again seeking the public’s help as another bull has been found dead under mysterious circumstances. The bull was discovered in a remote area, south of the John Day River on April 30th.

Ten cattle have been found mutilated in Central Oregon in recent months.

Wheeler Co. Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremiah Holmes said that the bull had been “mutilated” and that foul-play is suspected in the crime.

Deputy Holmes would not give additional details about the bull that was discovered last week and would not provide the name of the owner as the investigation is ongoing.

Deputy Holmes would only say that while the bull was discovered on April 30th, it may have died up to 10 days prior.

Like other cattle that have been found mutilated in Central Oregon in recent years, the cause of death is unknown. Since the animal had been dead for several days, an autopsy was not possible.

Deputy Holmes did say that the public’s input and vigilance is needed at this time. Due to the violent and mysterious nature of the deaths, Deputy Holmes is urging people to not confront anyone they encounter or who seems suspicious. “If someone is willing to kill an animal like this, it isn’t a stretch to kill a human,” Deputy Holmes said. He is asking for anyone who sees anything out of the ordinary to call the Wheeler County Sheriff’s Office.

The dead bull in Wheeler County is the latest in a string of mysterious deaths in Central Oregon. Six cattle have been found dead and mutilated in Crook County since February 27th. Other cases have been reported in Deschutes County, Lake County and Wasco County in recent months.

Just nine months ago, in July of 2020, a Black Angus cow was found dead outside of Fossil at the ranch of David Hunt. It was missing its reproductive organs and tongue. In December of 2019, a bull belonging to Mr. Hunt was found dead under similar circumstances.

Deputy Holmes said that he hopes to see a task-force of Sheriff’s offices in the area to get more collaboration. The FBI office in Portland has said that they are not investigating the deaths at this time.


  1. I think attention should go back to the way some of these farms handle their animals, I’ve seen people driving bulldozers claw up to make the animals move. These could be injuries inflicted by the owners and or people helping to care for cattle. Maybe this is just mishandling by folks in a hurry to get the job done, and they were just too scared to say anything. I think 10 days is a bit convenient to notice a missing bull of all things.


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