The Stutsman County Sheriff’s Department and the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) enlisted to help of the public on Sept. 1 to solve a case involving more than 58 dead cows in a pasture of 138. The two agencies announced up to $40,000 in reward money in return for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.
Major Jason Falk, an investigator with the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Department, detailed the case during a press conference at the Stutsman County Law Enforcement Center, stating that 58 pregnant cows, owned by Brian Amundson of Bar V Ranch in Jamestown, N.D., were found dead on July 29 in a pasture leased for grazing on Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge. Of the surviving cows, at least 15 have also aborted their calves, which were nearly full-term, due to be born in September.
“We go through lots of challenges and overcome those challenges,” Amundson said emotionally during the press conference. “There are lots of things in life that are hard, but this is probably one of the most challenging for myself.”
Following extensive veterinary diagnostic work and investigation, according to Falk, it appears the deaths were caused by something that was not naturally occurring.
Dr. Gerald Stokka, North Dakota State University Extension veterinarian and livestock stewardship specialist, indicated that veterinary diagnostics and clinical observations previously ruled out lightning; anthrax; blue-green algae; clostridial disease; lead poisoning; lack of water; and naturally occurring nitrate toxicity.
Falk also indicated that the case may or may not be connected to two separate fires on the Amundson ranch in mid-April 2021 that consumed more than 2,000 bales valued at nearly $200,000.
Blaine Northrop, NDSA Chief Brand Inspector, discussed the reward being offered in this case. Of the total, up to $14,000 is part of the NDSA’s standing reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of livestock criminals. The remaining dollars are being added by the Amundson family.
Anyone with information that could be helpful is encouraged to call the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Department’s tip line at (701) 251-6232, NDSA Deputy Brand Inspector Fred Frederikson at (701) 290-3993, or Northrop at (701) 390-2975.