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Owners may be nearing answers to cow mutilation mystery
Cows graze in a pasture on the Cooper Farm in South Hall Wednesday. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

John and Kathy Cooper feel they are getting closer to solving the mystery behind the cattle mutilations at their South Hall Farm.

In September, they discovered one of their cows dead in the pasture with its udders completely removed. It was the 20th cow they had found dead or mutilated in a year's time.

A recent article in The Times about the Coopers' situation lead to more stories on Atlanta TV stations and even CNN and Coast to Coast radio.

The exposure over the last month has brought a number of experts to visit their 200-plus acres in Chestnut Mountain.

"It went nationwide and because of that we've gotten ideas of what to do," Kathy Cooper said. "With the research scientists and investigators and everything, we would just sit around for hours and talk about the details."

In the last month, the Coopers have gotten a dog to help alert them of people on the property, have offered an award for any information leading to the culprit behind the mutilations and are better prepared to gather clues in case of any future incidents.

A research scientist said if another cow is mutilated, a veterinarian should be called to do an on-site necropsy.

"He said the critical thing is to get a vet to agree to come on site so you don't lose any time," Cooper said.

"Your evidence a lot of times disappears over time."

Cooper also hopes to get more clues from tests being performed on the cow killed last month. The University of Georgia Veterinary School determined that one of the Cooper's other cows had been poisoned.

"This one I think they are going to spend some more time with the tissue samples and the blood samples," Cooper said.

Cooper said an investigator at the Hall County Sheriff's Office is taking calls for any leads to who could be behind the cattle mutilations.

"He has had a lot of phone calls, but most of it has to do with extraterrestrial theories," Cooper said. "Hall County has put a lot of effort into this and really spent a lot of time on it. I think he thinks we're getting closer to making some sense of it."

Cooper said supernatural causes are often blamed for cattle mutilation cases.

"They believe it's got to be something other than humans," Cooper said.

Cattle mutilations have been reported across the country with little explanation despite extensive studies. The cows are discovered with their udders or genitals cleanly removed with a nearly surgical precision. The mutilations are often attributed to a variety of causes, including everything from extraterrestrials and cults to natural predators and decomposition.

Cooper said it is hard for her to image that something other than a person is doing this to her cows.

"You really can't rule that out because you don't have proof one way or another," Cooper said. "It's hard for me to understand it, I can't believe it."

Anyone with information can contact the Hall County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division at 770-531-6879.