The Oklahoma State University’s football team takes on the Texas Longhorns in the Big 12 Championship on Saturday in Arlington.
STILLWATER, Okla. — Warning: The story contains graphic, but blurred/edited images that some may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.
A longhorn was found dead in front of an Oklahoma State fraternity house Friday morning, university officials confirmed to WFAA.
Police told ABC affiliate KOCO they received a call shortly before 6:30 a.m. Friday about a possibly dead cow in the front yard of the FarmHouse Fraternity near Third Avenue and Monroe Street. When officers arrived at the home, they confirmed the cow was dead.
The carcass had an expletive carved into its side, and the stomach was cut open, according to the campus newspaper, The O’Colly. The O’Colly Newspaper shared photos with WFAA, which we have blurred due to the graphic nature.
The incident comes a day before the Oklahoma State football team takes on the Texas Longhorns in the Big 12 Championship game in Arlington.
Stillwater Police told news outlets in Oklahoma that the animal was likely killed less than 24 hours before it was found and that it had been left in the yard–adding that tire tracks were found near its body.
Kennedy Thomason, a reporter for The O’Colly, told WFAA that she speculates this to be a prank from a rival fraternity. She was first on the scene, and her pictures of the steer before it was hauled off have been widely shared.
“I can’t confirm that, but from my own opinion, yeah, that’s what I would say. There are a lot of harmless pranks that are done usually between frats, but I’ve never seen anything of this magnitude,” Thomason said.
Oklahoma State University officials released a statement to WFAA.
“Oklahoma State University is appalled at the disturbing display of animal cruelty that occurred overnight at an off-campus location near a fraternity house. The Stillwater Police Department is investigating the incident, and the university’s Office of Student Support and Conduct also has initiated an investigation. Oklahoma State expects all students to adhere to university codes of conduct, and appropriate action will be taken based on the outcome of the investigation.”
A representative for the fraternity, which was founded in 1905 by agriculture students, did not immediately return a phone call for comment.
The chapter did release a statement to KOCO that reads in part: “As a chapter founded on principles driven by our agricultural roots, we’re just as sickened and surprised by this incident as our peers on campus,” FarmHouse Fraternity Oklahoma State officials said in a statement. “It is disheartening to see the disregard for proper animal welfare and treatment displayed by this situation.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott posted to X Friday afternoon, condemning it, as well.
“That ain’t right,” Abbott said. “BIG mistake.”
WFAA also reached out to the Livestock Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with a mission focused on preserving and promoting rare breeds. The organization says the Texas Longhorn (CTLR) is listed as an endangered breed. Here’s the full statement Livestock Conservancy sent to WFAA:
“As individuals and as an organization, we are saddened and heartbroken by the death of a Texas Longhorn, found this morning at an off-campus fraternity in Stillwater. Texas Longhorns (CTLR), an endangered breed listed on The Livestock Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List, are a “subset” of Texas Longhorns registered by the Cattleman’s Texas Longhorn Registry. These animals have a different genetic makeup than the much more common “Modern” Texas Longhorns – the breed used, for example, as mascots for the University of Texas.
At this point, we are unsure if the animal found this morning is of the “Old” or “Modern” Longhorn line and cannot address if any conservation statutes apply or the severity of any crime, especially as the investigation is ongoing by law enforcement.
Regardless, animal cruelty is something we take very seriously and work tirelessly to prevent.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.