Dead cows stun beachgoers in Sweden, Denmark

A carcass of a Holstein dairy cow lies on the beach between Bisserup and Skaelskoer on the Island of Zealand in Denmark Jan. 8, 2014.

AP Photo/Polfoto/Niels Hougaard

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- The carcasses of almost a dozen cows have washed ashore in Denmark and Sweden, puzzling police in the Scandinavian countries.

Since Dec. 29, eight dead cows have been found by people strolling on beaches in southern Sweden and three in Denmark. All the animals had parts of their ears cut off. Investigators suspect this was done to remove the identification tags used to trace the animals.

Danish and Swedish police said Thursday the cows were probably dumped from a ship in the Baltic Sea. They are trying to pinpoint which livestock transports have passed between the two countries in recent weeks.

Dumping livestock like that is illegal in both countries. It's unclear, however, whether the cows were thrown overboard in Danish, Swedish or international waters.