Five Calves Killed On South Shore Ranch

SOUTH SHORE, S.D. – A family north of Watertown is out $4,000. In the last two weeks, they’ve discovered five calves have died on their land. And the cause of the deaths have the ranchers left asking one simple question; why?

“I don’t know how something like that could go through your head,” says Kristin Kowalski.

Kristin and her family have about 200 head of cattle living on their ranch in the small town of South Shore.

“These cows are like our pets, I mean we have a bottle-fed calf out there that we feed all the time,” she says.

So when the family found calf after calf dying, they never expected any foul play.

“We actually thought it was anthrax,” says Kristin. “It’s a disease that normally, if it’s a drought condition and it starts raining, it happens really badly.”

But a veterinary autopsy report discovered something different.

“Bruising and bullet holes,” says Kristin.

The Kowalski’s quickly realized 5 of their calves had been shot. Since the latest calf’s wounds were healed over on the outside of the skin, the family believes they were shot with a low caliber gun.

“It was doing enough damage to hurt them, but not enough to kill them on spot,” says Kristin. “So it was dying a slow painful death.”

The deaths are bringing more than just emotional woes to this generational ranch.

“For my grandma, it’s everything to her, it’s her entire income,” says Kristin. “She doesn’t have anything, because they put this land into a trust for the family to keep it passed down, so it doesn’t go anywhere.”

That’s why the Kowalski’s are asking if anyone knows any information about the incident, to come forward. They’re even offering a $500 reward and say any information will be kept confidential.

“We would like to get some justice for these calves, because it’s just unfathomable that someone would think to do something like that,” says Kristin.

The Kowalski’s did contact the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, but because no one witnessed the animals being shot, the Deputy Sheriff says there’s not much they can do.

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