Kathy Cooper was tending to her cattle this week when she discovered another cow had been killed and mutilated — approximately one year from the first time it happened.
Cooper and her husband, John, have lost more than 20 cows on their 200-plus acre South Hall farm to a mysterious crime over the past year.
Despite their best efforts and help from the Hall County Sheriff's Office and the University of Georgia's veterinary school, they are no closer to finding out who is killing their cows and removing only their udders and genitals.
"Detectives don't have any clues what they do with these parts," Cooper said. "It's very obvious that's what they're after. That's all they cut off."
The 5-year-old cow Cooper discovered dead Monday exhibited the same surgically precise, almost spherical, incisions on its belly where its udders and milk bag had been cleanly removed.
Cooper found just one trace of whoever killed the cow left in the soft dirt caused by Monday's rain, but no footprints leading anywhere.
"You could see where they went in there on their knees and elbows and lifted her tail up and just cut it off," she said. "That's the first sign of any kind."
Cooper said the mutilated cows are typically found in a gully or wooded area rather than open pasture. The first week of May, seven cows were killed and mutilated on their property. Several more were killed last fall.
"We did take one to UGA back in May. They determined she was poisoned, so that's how they're putting them down," Cooper said.
Cooper will also be sending this most recent bovine victim to the university's veterinary school for a necropsy.
Cattle mutilations have been reported across the country with little explanation despite extensive studies. The mutilations are often attributed to a variety of causes, including everything from extraterrestrials and cults to natural predators and decomposition.
Col. Jeff Strickland of the Hall County Sheriff's Office said investigators have been working on the case for the past year with little luck.
"This has been an ongoing investigation. At this time we don't have any suspects in the case," Strickland said.
"We're going to continue to investigate the case and follow any leads."
Strickland said there have been no other reports of cattle mutilations in the county.
"It is very bizarre and very unusual. We've had no incidents in the adjoining pastures owned by different people," Strickland said.
Cooper said she is ready to catch whoever is behind this.
"It is a big thing to lose that many cows," Cooper said. "That's how we make our living."
Strickland said anyone with information should contact the Hall County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division at 770-531-6879.