TRINIDAD - At first, rancher Tom Miller thought the savagery wrought on his cattle was a cruel joke.
Mutilated cows and calfs. Field-dressed and missing ears, organs and eyes. Carcasses devoid of blood.
A second-generation rancher, it wasn't until 1999 that Miller said he started looking at the animal deaths differently - not as the product of twisted mischief or the feeding scraps of predators.
"At first I thought it was a prank, but there were no tracks, no blood. It looks like the carcass is peeled off, and it happens overnight," Miller said.
"There are just so many things that happen that doesn't seem like it's human. I know people think you're crazy, but there are so many things people can't explain."
Since '99, six cows and calfs have been mutilated on Miller's ranch northeast of here. Two calfs were mutilated in May and the day after meeting with a Chieftain reporter and photographer this week, he found another mutilated cow on his property.
Miller thinks the seventh death happened in the past week.