UPDATE: 13 cows discovered dead in Summit County, Investigation underway

Utah Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Amanda Price told TownLift that the cattle had been taken in for testing

UPDATE 5:18 p.m. on Nov. 21: Bailee Woolstenhulme, public information officer for the Department of Agriculture and Food, said that progress has been made in checking off potential causes of the dead cows found on Nov. 17.

One test was finalized today, and concluded that no evidence of toxic plants were found in the cows. A plant specialist was also called in to investigate the area and found no toxic plants on the land.

Woolstenhulme said cattle have grazed on this ranch property for years, and had a total of 69 cows of which 13 were killed. The remaining cattle have been moved out of the pasture to protect them of any potential exposure. However, Woolstenhulme noted that there was no evidence the other cattle were harmed during the incident.

Those passing by the ranch property may still see the dead cattle, for now. The rancher has made arrangements to move them, but has been told not to yet, to allow opportunity for more samples to be taken for further investigation, if needed, before they are buried.

Woolstenhulme said test results should be back by Wednesday, Nov. 22, but the new information that has come to light is pointing more towards potential heavy metal toxicity due to surrounding mines in the area. The department has been monitoring areas down stream from the ranch, and zero incidents have occurred at this point, helping to rule out water contamination. Woolstenhulme assured that the water is also being tested just in case.

When asked whether people should steer clear of that section of the Rail Trail, Woolstenhulme mentioned that while the smell from the dead cows may be an easy deterrent, the Department of Agriculture and Food not worried about any potential toxins to people or animals.

Original Report

On an ordinary sunny day as Andy Houston biked along the Rail Trail near Silver Creek Village on Nov. 17, he came across a disturbing sight — a field strewn with 13 lifeless cows, eerily rigid.

The community, seeking answers, turned to NextDoor only to discover that the case had been handed over to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.

Utah Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Amanda Price told TownLift that the cattle had been taken in for testing, but the results were still pending.

The department is considering the likelihood of a toxin in the environment or a poisonous plant. Dr. Price said, “It’s hard to say without getting the test results.”

This investigation is ongoing, and TownLift will provide updates as more information becomes available.

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