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Cow roams around Armstrong Browning Library

April 22, 1997

By Martha Roberts

Lariat Reporter

You have to get up pretty early in the morning to find a good bargain on beef these days for your weekend barbecues, but if you get up early enough you can find fresh meat for free.

Waco police encountered a full-grown Hereford cow wandering loose on South 15th and Bagby streets before dawn Saturday morning, according to Sgt. Dennis Kidwell of the Waco Police Department. They notified the Baylor Department of Public Safety.

Baylor Police spotted the cow running loose around 4 a.m. Saturday on Speight Street near the Armstrong Browning Library, Chief Jim Doak of the Baylor Police said.

Officers from the Baylor and Waco departments worked together to keep the cow calm until it could be captured. Doak said the officers were at a loss as to how to keep the cow under control.

'How do you stop a cow?' Doak said. 'We talked about having someone jump on the cow and try to ride it. Some of the officers were experienced with [working with] cows, and they knew what to do.'

Mary Elizabeth Wibbelsman, an Atlanta senior, said she was taking a friend to Whataburger when she saw five or six police cars outside the library.

'We thought one of the NoZe Brothers had pulled a prank or something, and we didn't stop,' Wibbelsman said. 'On our way back we saw the cops were still there, so we pulled over, and--it was a cow!'

After 30 or 40 minutes of trying to contain the animal, police were able to corral it inside the hedges in front of Armstrong Browning Library. They kept it there until an animal control unit from the Waco Animal Shelter arrived. The cow was in their custody until picked up later that morning.

'It was interesting trying to get it into the trailer,' Doak said. 'Finally, the cow decided it would be a good idea to cooperate.'

The cow was not tranquilized or harmed during its capture, Doak said.

According to a source at the animal shelter, someone took the cow Friday night from Mitchel Jager's veterinary clinic, across the street from the shelter on Circle Road, by cutting a hole through the back fence.

A secretary at the veterinary clinic confirmed the cow was a patient there, but would not comment on the theft. The clinic would not release information on the cow's medical condition, and said only that the cow is no longer a patient.

Hereford cows, a breed originated in England, are red beef cattle with white faces, according to McLennan County extension agent Doug Andrews. Usually, Hereford cows are gentle animals and not easily excitable, he said.

'They're very calm by their natural disposition,' Andrews said. 'They're very good as far as beef characteristics go. They're what the West was won on.'

Andrews said that despite the breed's natural docility, the cow could have become frightened by cars and people if it had been released during the day.

'It probably would not have paid a lot of attention to where it was going ,' Andrews said. 'It could have been a traffic hazard. This is serious, and if the people who took it are caught, it will be very serious.'

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