Wedding-Day Cow Chase

As the town charter requires every so often (2003, 2001), a cow escaped from the livestock market on Franklin Street recently, leading police on a chase down Locust and Meadow down into the Rivanna before grazing on the fourth hole at the Meadowcreek Golf Course, Rob Seal reports in today’s Progress. Along the way she charged a woman and her dog and narrowly missed being tranquilized by an animal control officer.

What really makes the article is this quote: “Pumpkin was getting married that day, and we just couldn’t continue to chase it.” I hope that’s the Progress‘ quote of the day.

8 thoughts on “Wedding-Day Cow Chase”

  1. [submitted by the “woman and her dog”] Although I am the first person to admit the humor in the recent bovine-encounter while walking on the Rivanna Trail, there was also ample opportunity for either myself, my dog , or the two cops in front of “Pumpkin” to be injured by the bovine or the tranquilizer gun. Moreover, when Pumpkin met me on the trail he informed me that he was looking for a bull, not a cow (his sharp tracking skills missed the fact that he had just passed the animal, hiding in the brush). Adding insult to injury, a police sergeant informed me that livestock escapes from the market “regularly” due to faulty fencing. As any farmer knows, a cornered, scared animal that weighs more than a ton is a hazard. Steps should be taken to insure that these animals do not regularly escape from their pens and terrorize residential neighborhoods.

  2. [ this is the dog walker’s husband, duh ] Another thing that didn’t get reported in the news was the fact that the police department badly mis-handled this event, and apparently some past incidents too. Because my wife didn’t want to be quoted by last name, the Progress wouldn’t publish any criticism of the police. Why didn’t they at least take some basic steps, such as posting someone at the entrances to the trail to tell them an animal was loose? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way.

    I wasn’t there when this all happened, but we went out on the trail the next day and I looked at the sign. I grew up on a farm and have some nominal tracking ability. It was pretty clear where everything had happened — about 75 yards from the end of Locust Street, where there is a large residential area. Cow or bull I couldn’t say, but I believe my wife when she says Putnam told her it was a bull. Cow or bull doesn’t matter, though, if a child is in the way when a cow comes out of the woods. Again, I’ve worked with animals all my life, and I know what happens when an animal has been chased for half a day, and is exhausted and terrified. It’s an animal. It doesn’t think at that point, it is focused on escape.

    Another thing I know from years of farming is how to build fences, especially in a livestock-handling area. Not to build good fences and pens is gross irresponsibility — just like it’s irresponsible to shoot at an animal when there’s a person between you and the animal. I don’t have any experience with tranquilizer rifles, but I bet Putnam wouldn’t want to get hit by one.

    To add to the humor, the two police officers in the woods had left their vehicles parked, unlocked, with the keys in them, and running at the end of Locust street. Boy, would they have been embarassed if some prankster had driven away in one of them. I bet then they wouldn’t have brushed the whole thing off!

    I think this will go on until someone gets hurt and sues. Comedy is when someone else gets sued… :-)

  3. Having been raised on a farm I know that cattle can be dangerous, especially bulls, or cows with calves. I agree the Livestock Market needs better fencing-but animals can still break out sometimes. Fortunately this time no harm occurred to man or beast.
    Maybe the city needs to have some former cowboys or rodeo riders on call to handle escaped bovines. City cops and dogcatchers just don’t cut it. And thats no bull. (sorry, could not resist.)

  4. Re the following quote from the DP story:
    Though it didn’t end in bloodshed, Lynn said her recent brush with escaped livestock shouldn’t have happened.

    “There are hazards associated with the wild, but people in Charlottesville shouldn’t have to worry about getting into a crossfire between a cow and a guy with a tranquilizer gun.”
    Thank goodness C’ville is the type of place that still has something as old-fashioned as a livestock yard. We live near the Yard and have often had the escapees end up around our house. There was a herd of goats on the run for quite a while that would chill out on our porches when it rained.

    Frankly, the furious cow that tried to charge us was far preferable to the furious man shooting a gun behind our house the folowing year. It may be apples and oranges, but I’d rather face the very occasional hazard associated with critters, than get popped in the increasingly frequent crossfire from a drunken marital spat or a war over drug turf .

    Uber-developer Charles Hurt owns all of that gorgeous wooded bottom land, so don’t expect the Livestock Market, or even Hog Waller as we know it, to exist too much longer. Yep, it may be floodplain, but there’s too much money to be made by putting in a development of houses on stilts. C’ville/Alb would certainly welcome the revenue gained by paving the whole shebang over.

  5. I don’t know about development. Odors from the sewage treatment plant, esp. at night, are more constant there than in other parts of south Cville, where it depends on the wind. Usually the west wind protects us. Even so, you can get used to the smell. It’s not revolting, but noticeable.

  6. My favorite quote was: “He had been at the vet, and had been puking,” Lynn said. “The timing of this was not good.”

    Seriously, is there EVER a good time for a puking cow?

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