The Walker County Sheriff's Department is looking for the persons who killed two calves, including one mutilated for its meat.
Wesley Butler went out to his barn Sunday, Feb. 12, around 5 p.m. and fed six cows he raises on his farm. But when he returned Monday morning, Feb. 13, around 7:30 a.m., he discovered one of his cows was shot dead and another mutilated.
Butler's farm is located on Ga. Highway 193, a half mile north of Kensington Road.
Butler said he sees the same vehicles go past his property every day, but recently noticed a dull-green older-model compact car being driven by a white male traveling back and forth by his farm within days of the crime. This was unusual for Butler as he had never seen this vehicle before; and given the time of the cow mutilation on his property, the timing is suspicious.
According to Sheriff Steve Wilson, the two calves were shot. One was left untouched after being shot, while a second one had its front legs and shoulders sawed off.
Both calves weighed about 800 pounds and were being raised on the property to be eventually used for Butler's personal consumption, but also to be sold for profit.
Wilson said the driver of the dull-green compact car is a person of interest in the case.
The persons responsible face two felony counts that include cruelty to animals and livestock theft.
"It was a callous and malicious act. Pure meanness," Sheriff Wilson said.
Butler said the calves were 14-15 months old and were being raised on the farm to eventually be sent to the slaughter house.
Butler said he discovered two separate, human footprints in the barn after he found his two dead calves.
Butler said the mutilated calf had its left front shoulder sawed off, as well as the hind quarter (back leg) cut out.
It was not a professional job, just a huge mess, Butler said. They left one calf untouched.
Butler said he has six cows in total, but the other four were left unharmed.
It was a "get in, get out" situation, Butler said.
The barn is located three quarters of a mile from the residence on a 500-acre property.
"It was strange to me," Butler said.
"I don't want it to happen to anyone else. They wasted a lot of meat," Butler said.
Butler sells the meat at $3 per pound, so if the cows weigh 500-600 pounds, that is a loss of around $1,500 to $1,600, he said.
Once the story hit social media, some people commented, saying the suspect(s) may have been hungry and in need of food.
Butler does not believe this is the case.
"If they were starving, they could have came to the house and I'd given them meat," Butler said.
Butler asks anyone with information on the crime to contact the Walker County Sheriff's Department.
Butler said there is a reward available for the capture and prosecution of the responsible parties.
Wilson said anyone with information regarding the case or knowledge of the driver of the dull-green compact vehicle is asked to contact Detective Andy Cash at 706-639-0898, or anonymous tips can be left by visiting walkerso.com.
Josh O'Bryant is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He can be reached at the Walker County Messenger office at 706-638-1859 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.