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ALMENA, Wis. - Authorities in western Wisconsin are investigating whether stray voltage contributed to the deaths of about two dozen cows on a farm near Almena

The Star Tribune reported that Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said an Xcel Energy employee working on a nearby farm discovered a pile of dead cows and reported them. 

In a release Fitzgerald said that the cows died over the winter. He said all other animals on the farm were in good health and were moved to another location until the stray voltage issue "can be looked into and corrected."

Fitzgerald cited brutal winter conditions and illness as other factors in the deaths.

According to the Star Tribune, an Xcel Energy spokesman said their equipment was working normally and stray voltage was not a factor in the deaths of the cows. 

The sheriff said there appears to be no violations and the owners of the cows are cooperating with authorities.

The Associated Press contributed to the article. 

Carol Spaeth-Bauer at 262-875-9490 or carol.spaeth-bauer@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at cspaethbauer or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/carol.spaethbauer.

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