A Dalum family is left in disgust after someone entered their pasture and butchered one of their steers overnight.
On either Fri. Oct. 11 or Sat. Oct. 12, it is determined the animal was butchered in the middle of their field, taking almost every part of the steer other than the hide and bones.
Olav Pallesen conducted a regular check at their land just west of their home where the cows were “hunky-dory” and “everything looked great.”
The next time he went on Sun. Oct. 13 for a regular check was when he noticed the cows had gathered around in one place but that isn’t out of the ordinary.
Monday was when the animal was spotted as magpies had taken ownership of the area.
As many ranchers know, an animal typically tends to seek privacy when feeling ill or is about to die.
“Things don’t go out in the open to die,” explained Kirsten Pallesen, daughter of Olav.
She is also a family rancher.
“They go into the bush or the bottom of the coulee and this was out in the open on top of the hill and just walking upon it the hide was all laid out just how it’s skinned off with the legs. It’s ears were perfectly cut off the back of his head. It’s just too perfect for anything that I’ve seen that has just died.”
This area is described as ‘fairly remote’ with access mainly through fields and lease roads.
It is a popular area for hunting because of the rolling hills and vast bluffs of bushes and trees which attracts wildlife.
Kirsten told the ECA Review that the family does not give out permission to hunters very often.
“We like to keep things private if we can so there really is no saying whether it was someone who heard about this area from someone else or if it was a hunter who didn’t want to go back home empty-handed or someone who had been watching [the cattle] all summer and decided they would come back in the fall to fill up their freezer,” said Pallesen.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife came to conduct an investigation and confirmed that a predator did not kill the animal but were unable to tell how it actually died whether it was natural causes or man driven.
A livestock investigation team in conjunction with RCMP is on the case and confirmed it was from a human but again did not know the official cause of death.
The family has been experiencing a range of emotions over the trespassing and crime committed.
“There is a lot of pride in having animals and we like to respect our land and respect our animals and so this is so disrespectful,” said Pallesen.
“It’s a lot of hard work when you get up every half an hour in February in the truck to wait for a cow to calve and grow all summer. It’s pride and it’s our job and it’s our livelihood. Someone took it.”
This isn’t the first time a situation like this has happened before either.
In November of 2018, a rancher from Consort experienced something similar where three of his cows were fatally shot under what he felt was a targeted attack.
“You like to think it’s a one time instance but it happens more often than I like to think,” said Kirsten.
Pallesen hopes this message will prevent future agriculture-related crimes.
“The more people that hear about it and know about it – it’s not necessarily that you will catch the guy but maybe it stops them from doing it again,” she said.