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State vet estimates storm killed 10-20K livestock

Dead South Dakota Cattle
Dead South Dakota Cattle

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) -- State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven says state officials estimate at least 10,000 to 20,000 head of livestock died in last weekend's blizzard in western South Dakota. But Oedekoven says officials believe those estimates will rise as more information is gathered. Some ranchers in western South Dakota have reported losing 50 percent or more of their cattle. Oedekoven says officials are compiling numbers of livestock deaths from ranchers, the South Dakota Civil Air Patrol and others. Meanwhile, the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association and the South Dakota Sheep Growers Association are seeking donations to a relief fund set up to help ranchers who have lost livestock.

People who want to donate can go online at http://www.giveblackhills.org and search ``Rancher Relief Fund.''