‘Senseless act of cruelty.’ Pregnant cows shot to death on popular NC radio host’s farm

‘Senseless act of cruelty.’ Pregnant cows shot to death on popular NC radio host’s farm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer) - Four pregnant Black Angus cows were fatally shot on a North Carolina farm owned by the co-host of Charlotte’s “John Boy & Billy” syndicated radio show.

John Isley owns the 120 acres off South Providence Road near Waxhaw where the cows were killed by shots from a rifle in late July, Union County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Underwood told The Charlotte Observer Thursday.

Investigators found shell casings and are pursuing leads, but have made no arrests in what they believe “was an intentional act,” Underwood said.

It’s the only case of a multiple shooting of livestock in the county that Underwood could recall.

“It’s a senseless act of cruelty is what it is,” Wesley McWhorter, who manages the land for Isley, told the Observer Thursday morning. “Anything we can do to get the word out to get this person caught.”

McWhorter said he found the cows on the morning of July 28 and called the sheriff’s office. The cows were among 10 pregnant Black Angus that Isley kept on the property, McWhorter said.

Isley could not immediately be reached for comment.

The “John Boy & Billy Big Show” is broadcast each morning on nearly 50 stations in 17 states in the South and Midwest, according to the show’s website.

Isley and co-host Billy James have been a radio show duo for nearly 40 years. Beginning in 1981, they co-hosted the morning show on WBCY 107.9 FM in Charlotte before moving to WRFX 99.7 FM in 1986, where they have been ever since.


McWhorter said when he came upon one of the cows, as a hunter, he knew immediately by the hole in her body that the cow had been shot. He found gunshots wounds in the front shoulder of one of the cows and the ankle of another, he said.

One of the cows fled into deep brush near a creek after she was shot, while a fourth was found dead in the creek, he said.

Two of the cows were already dead when investigators arrived, and two were later euthanized, according to the sheriff’s office.

Four pregnant Black Angus cows were fatally shot on July 28, 2020, on land owned by John Isley. WESLEY MCWHORTER COURTESY OF WESLEY MCWHORTER

The other six cows had not been shot, McWhorter and the sheriff’s office said. In the days after the shooting, the surviving cows seemed out of sorts and “they were definitely shook up,” McWhorter said

Investigators with the sheriff’s Animal Services Division ask that anyone with information about the case call the sheriff’s office at 704-283-3789 or Crimestoppers at 704-283-5600.


Nearly 100 people have commented about the shooting on the sheriff’s Facebook page since Wednesday.

Those posting remarks called the shootings “evil,” “heartless” and “sad,” with one woman calling them a sign that “society is unraveling.”

“What is wrong with people now a days!!!” another woman asked.

“Breaks my heart for the suffering the animals went through,” still another woman posted.