After trying to corral a runaway cow on Billings’ South Side on Tuesday, Morgan Logan said it didn’t take him long to realize the Billings police were dealing with one mad cow.
“I’ve been around livestock my whole life, so at first sight I thought it was pretty funny seeing cops chase a cow down the street,” Logan said Wednesday afternoon. “But she was like a bull at a rodeo.”
Logan, 52, of Acton, was released from St. Vincent Healthcare on Wednesday afternoon with sore ribs and broken tibia and fibula bones after being pummeled by the cow a day earlier at his construction work site at 10th Avenue South and South Broadway.
Logan was driving a gravel truck when he saw the police trying to contain the cow and decided to try to help them.
“I couldn’t believe how fast she came out from under the tree,” Logan said. “I guess I saw her too late because the next thing I knew I was in the air. I had no fence to climb — she caught me right in the open.”
The 1,200-pound black Angus escaped from the Public Auction Yards shortly before 3 p.m. during unloading and led law enforcement on a chase through downtown and the South Side.
Nearly two hours later, the cow was shot by the Billings Police Department.
Auction yard manager Bob Cook said the cow was 'on the fight' to begin with when she came off the truck.
On her downtown trek, the cow had tipped over a bicyclist and made many charging attempts toward pedestrians and had nearly jumped over one of the police vehicles, Lt. Iffland said
“It’s not like we are out in the pasture,” Lt. Kevin Iffland said Wednesday. “This was a totally different scenario of asphalt and a lot of traffic. We are not equipped to wrangle large animals in a city environment.”
The initial call came in just before 3 p.m., when Billings police requested the assistance of Montana Fish and Wildlife Parks as well as the Public Auction Yard where the cow had escaped from.
Bob Gibson, communication and education program manager for Fish and Wildlife Parks, said they were unable to respond to the incident because the agency wouldn’t have been able to act fast enough.
“It’s not like we just go to the cupboard and pull out a dart gun and shoot,” Gibson said. “There are different drugs, concentrations and quantities that are all considerations when darting animals. Wardens do a lot of studying and environmental assessment ahead of time when tranquilizing an animal.
“And we don’t handle livestock. In fact, it’s fairly rare that we dart anything.”
Billings police requested assistance from auction yard employees, Iffland said, but by that time the cow had already charged several pedestrians and bicyclists on sidewalks and yards.
An on-duty detective, who is also a police marksman, was called in to shoot the cow. He used a .308-caliber rifle and fired one round through the cow’s heart at 4:41 p.m.
“There were a lot of factors that were considered that went into this as well — backgrounds and angles,” Lt. Iffland said, “and whether to shoot in the head or heart. We were certainly concerned with the most humane way and the safest way."
Bob Cook, auction yard manager, said the cow was taken to the city landfill.
At this time, he is not certain if the cow was covered under the auction yard’s insurance at the point of consignment transfer.
“We will take the appropriate measures to respond once we find out what that is,” Cook said.