Family searching for answers after five calves found shot

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SOUTH SHORE, S.D. The mysterious deaths of five calves on the Kowalski Ranch in South Shore has the family searching for answers. Some of the images in the story are graphic and may be difficult to watch.

The Kowalski's noticed the first calf death after a rain storm on August 12. A lightning strike or even an anthrax outbreak were things that passed through the family's mind in wondering what could've caused it.

After finding four more dead calves without a reason, the Kowalski's decided to get a veterinarian involved. The vet did an autopsy looking around for any diseases of infection but instead found some bruising and bullet wounds.

All of these injuries were consistent on all five calves, which lead the Kowalski's to believe that they were all shot at the same time.

"After the rain, all the blood washed away so we didn't see it. It was such a low caliber gun that even the outside wounds had healed because you couldn't see anything on this last calf," Kristin Kowalski said.

The 100 head of cattle are Kristin's grandma's only source of income, so it's a financial hit to the family. Based on the calves' weight estimations, the family believes they're out $4,000 and it was the first year they thought they'd see a marginal profit.

The cattle are like pets to the Kowalski's. One of the calves that was shot was named Wobbles, who had a rough start in life after being born with a vitamin A deficiency and getting kicked in the head by his mother. After his mother finally took him in, Wobbles was one of their largest calves at the ranch, so to be taken in such a way brings heartache to Kristin.

Kristin's Facebook post about the tragedy has been shared over 4,000 times. At first, her grandma set the reward at $500, but with all of the support and donations they've received, the reward is now set at a little over $1,000.

If you have information regarding the shootings, you can call Kristin at 605-881-8690 or her grandma 605-756-4461. They will need factual proof and any information will be kept confidential.

The family reported the incident to the Grant County Sheriff's Office, but without any witness to the event, there's not much the officers can do.