Saturday, February 23, 2002

Decoys join effort to rustle rambling cow

Escaped bovine still roaming Mount Storm Park

By Randy McNutt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        They tracked her by helicopter, on horseback and on foot, but the cavorting cow of Clifton still managed to elude authorities around Mount Storm Park on Friday.

        “This show is better than the soaps,” said Sally Schreiber, who lives nearby; but, like most people, she hasn't seen the elusive bovine.

[photo] A coral, complete with live decoys and feed, was set up in Mount Storm Park on Friday to lure the cow that escaped from a Camp Washington slaughterhouse on Feb. 15.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
        On Feb. 15, the cream-and-brown cow, bred and raised in Lexington, escaped from a slaughterhouse in Camp Washington — supposedly by jumping a fence. She found refuge in the park, about three miles away.

        Since then, the 1,500-pound cow has become a media star.

        “I saw it on some wooded property near the Cincinnati Woman's Club on Lafayette,” said Bob Dyrenforth, who lives on Amazon Street. “It was headed back toward Mount Storm about 8:10 a.m. (Friday).

        “It was a lot bigger than I had expected. It was not grazing, just racing at a good clip.”

        Authorities hope to tranquilize her before she harms herself or motorists in the busy area, not far from Central Parkway and Ludlow Avenue — and within earshot of Interstate 75.

        Hamilton County SPCA officials; the Ohio Division of Forestry; and Ken Meyer Meats, which operates the slaughterhouse, are assisting with the search.

        Authorities on Friday tried a new tactic: setting up a corral, with two other cows and some grain, to lure her into the open.

        But Miamitown farmer Denny Dowers, who has volunteered to help, said all the attention has scared the cow, and she might not come out for a day or two.

        “The more we leave her alone, the more curious she'll be,” he said. “I'm just backing off and letting them (the other cows) do their thing.”

        Steve Bartels, a Butler County extension agent, said that's not a bad idea, “but it might not be as effective as they might hope. Cows do have some herding instinct, so it might be attracted to the others.

        “This is not an easy process. ... When you've got helicopters flying around and people chasing it who don't know livestock psychology, it complicates things.”

        On Friday, Cincinnati police blocked the park entrance. While the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department's helicopter searched the park from the sky, Park District rangers rode horses in the heavily wooded area. Videographers aimed long lenses into the brush.

        “There's a lot of fallen trees around here,” said visitor Tracy Schreiber. “If you're not from around here, you might wonder how a cow could hide. But it's tough to get through.”

        Authorities have spent so much time searching for the cow — she's valued at about $450 — because they're afraid she'll wander over to Interstate 75.

        A few curious people stopped at the park Friday to try to see the cow, but were turned away at the park entrance.

        Kim Allen, of Sayler Park, looked toward a steep embankment and thick brush.

        “Now all we need is a horse and a road,” she said.

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