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Published June 08, 2012, 10:18 PM

Hankinson farmer speaks for the first time since cattle were killed

Hankinson, ND (WDAY TV) - It's a bizarre, gruesome incident that has investigators and farmers alike puzzled in Richland County. Who in their right mind would kill 13 head of cattle? With his first TV interview about the incident, farmer David Kluge tells WDAY just what he saw that tragic day.

Hankinson, ND (WDAY TV) - It's a bizarre, gruesome incident that has investigators and farmers alike puzzled in Richland County. Who in their right mind would kill 13 head of cattle? With his first TV interview about the incident, farmer David Kluge tells WDAY just what he saw that tragic day.

David Kluge has raised livestock on this land for nearly four decades, but this time, as he drove by his now mangled fence, he knew something was wrong. What he saw next looked like something out of a horror movie.

David Kluge – Farmer Near Hankinson, ND: “There were two laying by the straw pile there that were dead, another laying down there. And as I looked across the rest of the field, there was a tremendous amount. It was a slaughter.”

Kluge asked us not to show his face as he described what he saw that day.

David Kluge: “These cattle did not have a pleasant, quick death, they suffered.”

A mile and a half from the southern border, the Kluge family has farmed this land for more than a century. The remaining cattle still graze this quiet, quaint, secluded piece of North Dakota prairie. Not just 1,000 pounds of meat, but a mortgage payment, groceries, the electricity bill.

David Kluge: “This is the factory, those cattle are factory, this is the lifeblood of an operation.”

The total loss? In the neighborhood of $30,000; a hardship made even worse by today's soaring beef prices.

David Kluge: “Somebody had to know they were here, it's not like somebody just drove by and started shooting.”

The investigation is still open. An act of revenge? An old grudge? Or just a gruesome slaughter?

David Kluge: “It's really senseless that anybody that can take a perfectly healthy mother and turn around and do something like that.”

There have been no arrests made in this ongoing investigation.

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