Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Police looking for cow killer in cold case

The St. Catharines Standard - Tuesday, December 9, 2008


It’s been two years since the last crime, but Niagara police are hoping the public will help them track down a serial cow killer from their cold files.

Four cows - including one that was pregnant with twin calves - were killed by someone who used a crossbow to fire arrows into them.

“It’s a real weird one,” Niagara Regional Police Det. Sgt. Brian Smith said.

The killings took place over a period of five days from Dec. 10 to 15, 2006, at a farm on Effingham Street near the border of Welland and Pelham.

The animals would have suffered painful deaths in the gruesome attacks, Smith said.

“Some of them didn’t die right away. They died as a result of their injuries, but it took a little while,” he said.

A similar cow killing also involving a crossbow two or three years before the latest incident remains unsolved, Smith said.

The first crossbow attack happened on a farm in nearby Wainfleet, where a single cow was killed.

It’s possible the killings are linked, Smith said.

“Personally, I would say yes, because there hasn’t been anything else even similar.

The chances of those two being completely independent of each other would be hard to believe,” he said.

The property where the four cows were killed two years ago is owned by an 80-year-old man who runs a hobby farm, Smith said.

“We don’t believe this guy was targeted in a revenge thing.... He just happens to have this isolated farm in the middle of nowhere,” he said.

Based on where the arrows hit the cows, police don’t believe a skilled hunter was responsible for the kills.

“They were pretty well random,” Smith said.

Investigators have very little information to go on, but are hoping a large knife found near the dead cows may lead them to the killer.

They believe the knife was brought to the scene by the crossbow attacker.

The knife - made by the J.A. Henckel company - has a 20-centimetre blade and distinctive markings on its black handle.

Engraved in the handle are the initials “PR,” followed by the numeral 2, indicating it may have come from a restaurant or butcher shop, Smith said.

“I think that’s going to crack the case if somebody can tell us where that knife came from,” he said.

The disturbing case has troubled Smith since it landed on his desk two years ago.

“We thought we’d throw something out there and give it one last-ditch effort to solve it,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Smith at 905-688-4111, ext. 3345, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Anonymous tipsters can also reach Crime Stoppers online at http://www.crimestoppersofniagara.com/ or by texting a message to CRIMES (274637) with the text reading:tip309 and the message.

"If one person is unkind to an animal, it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once sums of money are at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people." - Ruth Harrison

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