CARLSBAD, N.M. — Authorities in southeastern New Mexico are teaming up to investigate a string of livestock killings.

Eddy County Sheriff Mark Cage says his jurisdiction covers more than 5,000 square miles (12,950 square kilometers) and his deputies can’t be everywhere at once so a task force is being formed to help with the problem.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports ( that several cattle were killed on a local ranch in August, resulting in an estimated $20,000 loss. Several cattle also were shot the previous summer.

Investigators said both instances amounted to extreme animal cruelty and that anyone arrested in connection with the shootings could face felony charges.

Cage has deputized a Bureau of Land Management ranger to help with the case and is working with other local and federal agencies and organizations.

Information from: Carlsbad Current-Argus,

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