A cow escaped from the Waverly Sales Company barn Tuesday morning, which caused a chase involving the barn’s staff, Waverly police and city workers in a nearby neighborhood, including on the West Cedar School grounds.
The bovine had escaped the barn sometime around 8 a.m. and wandered to an area bounded by Second and Fourth avenues and 15th and 20th streets northwest. The chasers attempted to coax it back to the barn, about a half-mile away, but the cow was uncooperative.
A few times, the cow made its way onto the school grounds. Since students were arriving for the day, they were escorted into the building to be safe.
Christi Lines, principal at West Cedar, said staff had seen the cow earlier and made the decision to get the children inside.
“Just in case she came back our way,” Lines said. “Almost everyone was in the building until (the cow) came back around. We’ve been making sure that every student gets in safely.”
She said the excitement level is pretty high when an incident like this happens.
“Anything out of the ordinary is always exciting at school.”
Waverly Police Chief Rich Pursell told Waverly Newspapers after the incident was finished that the cow eventually had to be put down. He said the chasers were able to get the animal back to the sales barn parking lot, and employees were attempting to put the cow through the same chute from which it escaped.
However, the cow slipped out of the chute and got back into a field that was just east of the barn. At that point, Pursell said barn employees gave police clearance to put the cow down in that field before it could return to the neighborhood.
“You try to do the first method first,” Pursell said. “Plan A was obviously getting it back to get it dropped off as it was originally intended. When that wasn’t working, you have to adjust your plan. Plan B was to put it down, which was ultimately was going to be the outcome for that animal anyway.”
From May 21-25, 2017, sales barn employees and Waverly police were in pursuit of a goat that also escaped and was on the lam for four days before it was captured in Walston-Hoover Stadium and returned to the barn.
Lines, at West Cedar, said with the school so close to the barn, employees there do warn staff if livestock do get loose.
“We just take safety precautions and make sure everybody gets in safely,” she said. “Of course, the police and the sales barn folks and the owners of the animals all want them contained, too. They do a good job of taking care of that.”
Pursell, the police chief, said Waverly police get maybe one or two animal escape calls every few years. There is no specialized training the officers undergo in this situation, though.
“They do a good job of running that operation at (the sales barn),” he said. “We don’t really have a lot of calls out there.
“We’ve had cows before. They just work in conjunction with the sales barn. It’s their property, and we work with them and make up a plan what would be most appropriate given the situation, and just execute it.”