SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Pennington County has opened two large disposal pits for western South Dakota ranchers with cattle killed in an early October blizzard.
Up to 4 feet of snow fell in the Black Hills area during the storm, killing tens of thousands of cattle.
Alexa White with the Pennington County Emergency Operations Center says 139 animals were picked up from county rights of way and dumped in the pits over the weekend. She says the 20-feet-deep pits have plenty of room for ranchers' cattle.
State officials say at least 10,000 to 20,000 head of livestock died, but the number will likely rise as more losses are documented. The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association estimates that western South Dakota lost at least 5 percent of its cattle.