Fell through: Mike Carlow (left) and Bob Pille (right) use a shovel and a prying tool to free a dead cow from the ice on White Clay Reservoir south of Pine Ridge, South Dakota on Tuesday. Last week an estimated 100 of Carlow and his brother Pat's cows wandered onto the ice, broke through and died
These images of drowned cattle are enough to make meat eaters and vegetarians alike shed a tear over the mistake that caused their mass death.

Last week, about 100 cattle wandered onto a South Dakota reservoir covered in six-inch-thick ice while seeking shelter in a severe windstorm.

Their hunt for rest turned tragic when the ice collapsed under their enormous weight of more than 1,000 pounds.


Loss: Mike Carlow looks over the scene at White Clay Reservoir. He estimates that he lost $300,000 worth of cattle and is uncertain how his business is going to recover
Most of the cows that fell through drowned, leaving their owners out hundreds of thousands of dollars and also heartbroken at the gruesome accident.

Brothers Mike and Pat Carlow own the herd on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and discovered the horrific scene on January 8th during the morning feeding time.

Pat had a hard time finding the cattle at first, but then eventually found a group feeding near the reservoir where there were several floating masses of dark brown.

He was sickened when he realized the masses were his cows, drowned.

Breaking through: Oglala Sioux Tribe solid waste director Bob Pille uses a prying tool to break ice on White Clay Reservoir on Tuesday. It's rare for cows to stray onto frozen over bodies of water

'I've been ranching over 40 years,' Mike told the Casper Star-Tribune, 'and I don't ever remember cattle walking out on ice or falling through.'

The Carlows say that most of the cows that wandered out onto the ice were prized 2-year-old bred heifers. The older ones apparently knew better than to walk out onto the ice.

They say the ice was about as thick as a slice of bread, collapsing easily when forced down with 1,100 pounds of cattle.

The Carlows, who are members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, estimate that the incident cost them $300,000 and they don't know how that's going to impact their business yet.

'I don't know what the hell is going to happen,' Mike said, adding that the ranching business 'was starting to really pay off. Hopefully we can stay in business.

This week the Carlows have been working to extract their dead cows from the body of water, which has been a complicated job.