British Columbia

'It's surreal': Farm animals found dead with missing genitals

RCMP in Fort St. John, B.C., are investigating two separate cases of livestock found dead with their genitals missing.

'Reports of this nature are not commonplace,' police say after bull and horse found mutilated

Kelly, a horse owned by Amanda Babcock, was found dead with its genitals missing in Rose Prairie, just outside Fort St. John B.C. on Oct. 2, 2019. (Amanda Babcock)

RCMP in Fort St. John, B.C., are investigating two separate cases of livestock found dead with their genitals missing.

Police received a report of a bull found dead with its genitals removed on Sept. 22. It's not known when the bull died but police say significant time had passed before it was reported.

On Tuesday, RCMP received a report of a male horse found dead, also missing its genitals.

"Reports of this nature are not commonplace and are taken very seriously by the RCMP," said Const. Chad Neustaeter.

The horse's owner, Amanda Babcock, lives just across the border in Sexsmith, Alta., and keeps her horses at her mother's place in Rose Prairie, just outside of Fort St John. She says the death of her 21-year-old horse named Kelly was shocking. 

'It's surreal'

"Basically it's surreal. It just doesn't even register as something that could happen. You expect a lot of natural things to happen with your horses, but never something that is so questionable like that," Babcock told Sarah Penton, host of Radio West

Police say it's not known if the deaths of the horse and the bull are related. There is no indication the animals were killed by natural predators.

A pair of livestock experts say coyotes are likely to blame for two cases of animal disfigurement in northeastern B.C., though they aren't ruling out other possibilities.

Necropsy

Kelly was special to Babcock, in part because he was born on her father's birthday. Babcock's dad passed away when she was two.

Babcock's horse had a necropsy Thursday indicating the cause of death was a perforated bowel.

"They were very thorough with their autopsy ... but I still question things," she said.

The day Kelly died, Babcock's mother's fence was cut. One of Babcock's other horses was uncharacteristically upset that day, she says. 

The area where Kelly was found dead was undisturbed. Typically when horses are suffering from colic ⁠— or severe stomach pain associated with the bowel⁠ — they roll and writhe in pain on the spot, Babcock said. 

"There wasn't a mark on him other than he was missing his penis and he had a small piece of skin that was missing around it," Babcock said. 

She says the community is very concerned following Kelly's death. 

"Everybody's trying to keep an eye out. Everybody is very concerned for their own livestock, for their own animals."

RCMP are telling Fort St. John animal producers to make sure their livestock are accounted for, and to ensure fences and gates are secured. (Helen Pike/CBC)

RCMP advise animal producers in the area to check on their livestock regularly to ensure they are accounted for, and immediately report any suspicious livestock deaths.

The B.C. RCMP Livestock Section is assisting in the investigation.

With files from Radio West

now