Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Suspicious Deaths in the Canyon

There's a new manager at the donkey rescue and the other day, I saw my husband talking to him for a long time down the road. Then my husband came home and told me this:

Yesterday morning, the temperature was 10F

An old man, who lived up in the canyon, had been found murdered and his caretaker was gone. I looked this up in our paper online and found it to be true. The man was found by the caretaker's son, on the floor of his bedroom, with a lot of blood around his neck area. The caretaker, the boys's mother, was nowhere to be found. Detectives are investigating this as a suspicious death and have sent the boy away to live with his father. 

and I tried to capture the glitter of the frost

Then the guy told my husband that a black bear had killed three donkeys at the rescue. I found this hard to believe and tried to get more information out of my husband without success. Grrrr, like don't you get it? If there's a crazy bear out there, we are all in danger. I dropped it with him and turned to my blogger friend, Upupaepops, whose blog Meandering Washington is always interesting, informative and full of beautiful photos. My meandering blogger friend also knows about science, nature, biology and I'm sure a whole lot more, and I value her opinion. Upupaepops said, that she found it

with my camera.

hard to believe a bear would do this, unless the guy had visual evidence, such as paw prints or fur. The manager said there were paw prints. She further said that bears are not big carnivores and few carnivores kill for fun. She thought maybe a coyote pack. And she said that Fish & Wildlife authorities should be contacted when any abnormal animal behavior occurs, regardless of species.
 I can't believe a bear would do something like that either. I also don't believe a pack of coyotes could take on and kill three donkeys. Not unless they were miniatures, very old or very young. But then I don't know what happened, if the three donkeys were killed at the same time, or if some animal came back, or they were in different enclosures. Wild burros, of which there are many at the rescue, can kill coyotes and even mountain lions. And I have been rushed by a domestic donkey, walking by his enclosure before he was neutered. If the fence had broken, I would not be here to write about these strange occurrences. I'm sure, if attacked, they could muster that again to defend themselves. 
And then, finally, the guy told my husband that he had also spotted a mountain lion crossing the fields and wandering past our barn, a couple of early mornings in a row. Of course, cats being cats, they most definitely don't kill for fun. I don't know if he really saw a cougar or perhaps he saw that huge bobcat that lives around here. All I know is that three donkeys must be dead. But what happened? Is there a deranged bear out there in the hills? A large coyote pack on the hunt? A mountain lion lurking? Are my dogs safe? Are we safe walking in the hills? 


  1. Oh Inger,this sounds like madness! Please stay safe!!!Do not go walking until you know for sure about the bear! for the murder..oh my,be vigilant,do not trust anyone you do not know!! Praying for your safety!!!

  2. oh, i hate the idea of animals being killed, but even worse is the story of the dead old man and his missing caretaker! how absolutely frightening! i am much more scared of human predators than animal...

  3. I have to agree w/ TexWisGirl, I'm much more scared of human predators... but, that's quite a body count, so I wouldn't feel safe at all, right now. I wouldn't let my dogs out for a second unsupervised... keep them on a short leash & let them do their business very close to the front door of your house... That's horrible to have to live like that, but until they find the culprit, I'd be very very careful!

    I'll be back to check on this developing story =0

  4. In light of the murder, I can believe that a human killed the donkeys.

    People will notice paw prints that are always there ( but missed) when it matters to find something.

    The paw prints might always be there but then not have to explain away something and establish blame.

    I think the connection between killing animals (meyhem types, not conventional hunting) and killing people is well established.

    I send healing thoughts to all those in your community .

  5. Oh my heart goes out to the old man that was murdered. Please be safe.
    love the post.

  6. THIS IS FRIGHTENING! Please keep your animals (& your husband!) safe!!!!!!!!!!

  7. I would not worry about any four legged animals hurting you while on your walks, but now the two legged ones they can be a problem. Maybe the animals and the human death are connected it certainly looks to me that should be investigated.

  8. Trist med den gamle mannen som blev mördad. Tror inte du behöver vara så rädd ang djuren. De brukar ju inte attackera människor om de inte är skadade eller har småttingar. Låt inte hundarna springa lösa. Vi har haft många jakthundar som gått åt denna säsong med i varglänen.

  9. Well, the news are frightening. Like many before me commented, I'd be more concerned about the 2 legged killer. Please, stay safe and don't let the dogs out on their own.

  10. I agree with some of the above about being more afraid of a deranged human than a bear.
    Ranchers around here put donkeys in with the cattle to protect the cows from preditors.
    Please be careful.

  11. As everyone here says, you and your husband must do whatever you have to do to be safe. Kind of a metaphor for the world, actually, not just to stay safe physically but emotionally and intellectually as well as we are bombarded on all sides by dangerous "things."

    I love the way you captured the frost. Those are stunning photographs! Beauty in the midst of danger. That's the way it is...
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

  12. This is really scary. I know you are careful... stay safe!

  13. Your good dogs will keep bad things away from you.

  14. Inger, you and your sweetheart will be safe with the dogs nearby. Listen and watch their body will learn!...:)JP

  15. Poor donkeys. Please be very careful.

    Janie Junebug

  16. I concur with the other opinions that it is far more likely that the donkeys were killed by a person. Having spent a lot of time working around a huge variety of animals -- including: bobcats, mountain lions, bears AND donkeys -- I find it really hard to believe that a bear or cat took out 3 donkeys, unless they were picked off one at a time and they were really old and sick (or young), like you stated. IF any animal brought about their demise, I would think a pack of coyotes would be the biggest suspect. Even then, it would take extraordinary circumstances for coyotes to take on donkeys -- the donkeys would have to be half-dead first. Donkeys are some of the most agile and protective animals out there. They are pack animals that stand up for each other. Now, on the other hand: that canyon has had a reputation over the years of mysterious deaths (by people). I've never heard of anyone getting caught for the suspicious deaths, so please be extra careful! You have 3 wonderful protectors with you that will scare off most predators - including the 2-legged kind -- thank God! I pray for your safety and ask the angels to protect you and yours:)

  17. Dear Inger,
    This is all very alarming, but like many other commentators, I suspect a human killed the donkeys. The hope is, of course, that the police will find the killer before he or she can hurt other humans and animals.
    Please keep us posted about this.


  18. I too am surprised about the burros being killed. I guess I would say to be careful until things are figured out. Keep us informed...maybe you already have...I am getting caught up on blogs today.


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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