Chloride Found in Dead Upshur County Cattle

The tests are now back, as veterinarians believe chloride may have killed 17 cattle in Upshur County. Upshur County cattle rancher, Ronny Blasengame has become an unlikely celebrity among ranchers around the country, after over a dozen of his cattle died mysteriously last month, and his story has been seen by ranchers everywhere.

"Somebody from as far away as Pennsylvania and Louisiana has called to see what was taking place," said Blasengame.

He discovered cattle either dead or dying near a new oil rig on his ranch off Cherokee trace, near Gilmer... and the only clue was a jelly-like substance he found near the well, which he belives the cattle ingested. In the end, 17 of his cattle had died.

"I'm concerned about it because I'm wanting to make sure that if there is a disease that caused this i want to make sure that nothing leaves here, but i;m fairly sure all of them died within a short period of time its probably not a disease," said the rancher.

A Texas A & M necropsy of the animals came back today to his local vet, showing the animals were normal, but high levels of chloride, often used in preparing oil wells, was found in their systems.

"10-90 parts per million of chloride in the rumen which is the stomach, and it's normal is 300-to-800," said Gilmer veterinarian Randall Spencer.

"I'm more inclined to believe that theres enough proof that it did come from that direction, but I'm not sure yet," said Blasengame. No link has been established between the cattles deaths and the oil well, but further tests are going on to determine where the animals may have come in contact with the chloride.

Bob Hallmark, reporting.