Objectives and Procedures

When I began the investigation on May 28, 1979, I had five objectives:

  1. To determine the reliability of the information on which the grant was based. This entailed gathering as much information as possible about the cases reported in New Mexico prior to May 1979. Letters were written to every sheriff in the state requesting information. The state police was also contacted, and additional information was retrieved through media accounts and from the New Mexico Livestock Board.
  2. To determine the cause of as many mutilations as possible, especially those reported in New Mexico. During the course of this project, 27 incidents were reported. I conducted on-the-scene investigations of 15 of these cases. The remaining 12 incidents were investigated primarily by officers of the New Mexico State Police, the New Mexico Livestock Board, and deputies from sheriff's departments. One incident was not investigated since the notifying officer would not furnish sufficient details, including the location of the incident. To help interpret the evidence, I consulted experts from a number of different fields, including veterinarians, forensic pathologists, and mining engineers.
  3. To determine if livestock mutilations as described constitute a major law enforcement problem. Since it is a well-proved fact that predators and scavengers mutilate livestock, the chief criterion for human causation is the "precision surgical removal" of certain parts of the animal. Therefore, to be considered a major law enforcement problem, it must be shown that in a large number of cases, certain parts of the animal have been surgically removed, in violation of a law.
  4. If these mutilations do constitute a major law enforcement problem, to determine the scope of that problem and to offer recommendations on how to deal with it. To ascertain the extent of the mutilation phenomenon, I asked the governor of every state whether or not livestock mutilations had ever been a problem in that state. In addition to the information I received from these inquiries, I personally reviewed case files in Colorado, Nevada, and Arkansas. Valuable information was also provided by veterinarians connected with nine state animal diagnostic laboratories.
  5. If it is shown that the mutilation phenomenon is not a law enforcement problem, to recommend that no further law enforcement investigations be funded.
s11 For the sake of brevity, the term "human-induced" mutilation will be used to designate those mutilations performed with the aid of knives or other sharp instruments.