Officials look into cow's fatal beating

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office is reviewing an incident in which an Evans man tied a cow to a tree, beat it to death and skinned it for a cookout.

"We're consulting with various officials to determine what, if any, violation has occurred," sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said.

The incident happened at a home on Aspen Laurel Drive in Evans and was reported to authorities about 7:40 p.m. Tuesday by an anonymous caller. The caller told police two men took turns beating the animal multiple times on its head with a hammer until it fell to the ground. The caller said the men began to skin the cow while it still appeared to be alive.

A 48-year-old man said he purchased the cow in Edgefield, S.C., for a cookout he was holding when his brother visited from out of town. The man said he tied the cow to a tree and struck the animal two or three times on the top of its head with a 5-pound hammer, according to the report. He said he started to skin and "quarter" the cow after he thought it was dead.

The agencies involved in the review include the sheriff's office, Georgia Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the district attorney's office, Capt. Morris said.

He said the USDA specifies the approved methods of livestock slaughter by various means, which includes chemical, mechanical, gunshot or electrical.

"Crude may not necessarily equate to illegal, so we're doing some research on it," he said.