35 cattle drop dead in Clinch County - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

35 cattle drop dead in Clinch County

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April 11, 2008

Clinch County - A mound of dirt is the mass grave where the Holbrook family buried 35 cattle that suddenly dropped dead.

The Department of Agriculture has now quarantined this Clinch County farm until they find out what killed them. Investigators believe pesticides or possibly bad feed could be the answer.

"Some of the pesticides we use are highly toxic and even worse, some of them have a flavor the cattle really like and if they have access to those then you can wipe out a bunch," says Ellis Black.

The Holbrook family was not home or available to comment, so we spoke with long time cattle rancher Ellis Black. He says it's unlikely bad feed killed the cattle because this time of year they are still feeding on hay. And while many pesticides attract cattle, he's never heard of it killing so many. He has another theory.

"But from the number of cattle you are talking about, I would suspect either accidentally or intentionally they got a hold of some poison."

The GBI says poisoning by pesticides or through feed is a possibility and they are still working to determine whether the deaths are criminal.

But whatever the cause, it's still a devastating financial blow to the Holbrook family.  "A good size cattle right now are going for about $1200 a head so you do the math yourself."

Samples of feed and pesticides were taken and two cows were sent to Tifton for testing.