On May 20th, 2018, I released a blog about some strange animal deaths near Westcliffe, Colorado I was investigating. A horse, goats and a hog died mysteriously on the Thomas Walker ranch, and then later while I was investigating it, he also lost a calf. On my initial investigation, I learned there was a possible cattle mutilation in the area earlier this year at a nearby ranch in January. What’s interesting about that is, around that same time in January, another cattle mutilation was reported to me out of Trinidad, Colorado. So we have two possible animal mutilations around the same time frame about 100 miles away. This has happened before, I worked a case out of Trinidad and within a couple of days of that one, another mutilation was reported out of Missouri. That wasn’t the only time I’ve seen cases like that, there were two othes that I know of.
When I took Andy Koen from KOAA NBC news to the location where other cattle had died mysteriously, we were met by the rancher’s wife blocking the road. She wouldn’t let us pass to interview her neighbor who claimed to have seen the dead animals. (You can see the rancher’s wife blocking the road using an ATV in the video.) The rancher claimed since the road was on their land, they could deny access to anyone. But their neighbor who we were there to interview also lives off that road, or easement. Under Colorado State law, the seller of the house (rancher) has to grant reasonable access to the person who they sold the house to, including their guests. Blocking the road is illegal.
The rancher finally let me and the reporter on his land to see the dead carcasses but we couldn’t film them. The area where the animals were buried, I counted about 8 animal carcasses that were partially visible. The neighbor had said about 40 animals had died.
What did I learn?
I learned the ranch we were initially denied access to, had transferred bulls to their ranch from Utah which could have been infected with Anaplasmosis. This disease is caused by a minute parasite, Anaplasma marginale, found in the red blood cells from infected cattle. It can be transmitted from the infected animals to healthy animals by insects or surgical instrument. The question is; can it jump species from cows to goats, hogs and horses? Some say yes, if a deer or elk infected by a tick infects other animals. The infected tick can also transfer the disease to humans, but in this case, no humans were reported sick with this disease in the Westliffe area.
I also learned there is a large and growing feud between ranchers in the area due to their animals dying, and no one is taking responsibility, matter of fact, most are not talking about it. I do know another horse had died besides Thomas Walker’s because we saw the carcass out in a field, and when we tried to investigate it, we were denied access to the field by a very angry rancher.
There is something very interesting going on in the Westcliffe, Colorado area, and I’m sure I’ll hear more about it in the near future. Another very interesting thing is;
KOAA NBC news pulled the reporter’s video and written report from their website!
Luckily when I first saw the video on Monday, I copied it and put it on my personal Youtube account. Since the report is about me and my investigation, I hold some copyright to that material. But since KOAA released it to the public, it should be public domain, so if you want to copy it, I say, “Go for it!”
This is Andy Koen’s video report that is “currently” no longer available on the news website. I did contact Andy to let him know his report was yanked off their website, maybe by mistake or maybe intentionally.
At this time it’s anyone’s guess, and hopefully my video won’t get pulled too!
Monday, August 6th, 2018
KOAA.com Colorado Springs and Pueblo News
Early this spring, Thomas Walker had a half dozen animals living on his land just outside of Westcliffe, four of them died within a few days of each other. “The pig was first, then two goats and then my mare,” Walker said. A couple of weeks later, he lost a calf.
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