Cows are generally thought to be relatively docile creatures: lumbering, slow moving grass munchers that aren't terribly difficult to round up.
But not a heifer in Evans, which, during almost 24 hours on the loose, repeatedly evaded capture. And it wasn't subdued until after a four-hour pursuit involving cops, veterinarians and an animal-control officer that didn't end until the fugitive was gunned down with two shots from a tranquilizer pistol.
"People may laugh," says Evans Detective Rita Wolf. "But it's a 750-pound animal. It could have done some damage" -- and it did, when it kicked the crap out of a police car.
Here's Wolf's recap:
"The first call we got was about 2:30 a.m. on the 10th, about a cow that had gotten away. We sent out officers, but it's an all-black heifer and not easily seen at night -- so we couldn't locate it the first time. Then, we got another call around 3:30, where someone else saw it running loose by Centennial Elementary, on the 1700 block of 37th Street.
"But officers were unable to capture the cow then, and it ran east toward the railroad tracks. A train was coming, and it honked its horn, and that made the cow jump back when one of our officers was in the vehicle. That's when the cow hit the front end of the vehicle and knocked off the bumper. And then it ran off, and they were unable to capture it again."
During the daytime hours, the cow laid low. But it was only biding its time.
"Around 6:30 last night, we got a call about the cow running around over by the Ridge subdivision, off the 3300 block of 42nd Street. They found it right away, but it kept running, and they'd lose it again. Then, someone else would call in and say where it was then. They were able to keep track of it, but they couldn't quite catch it."
As the hours wore on, the posse chasing the cow grew to include a Weld County animal-control officer and a pair of veterinarians. Finally, with the clock nearing 11 p.m., the group managed to effectively corral the cow long enough to hit it with two shots from a tranquilizer gun.
All told, the heifer "covered a lot of territory," Wolf says. "It wandered for miles. It went from one end of town to the other." But the effort was worthwhile, she believes, because of the potential for accident and injury. "If a driver were to hit it in the dark, when it was hard to see, it could have caused a good amount of damage to the vehicle, and possibly to the driver, too."
Instead, the person likely to suffer the most damage is the cow's owner, who was given an animal-at-large citation that could result in a fine. But that seems like a small price to pay for such a bovine bad-ass.