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Deputy shoots rampaging Wildomar cow

January 21, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A cow got loose in Wildomar Thursday and charged people, creating a traffic hazard. It was killed by a Riverside County Sheriff's deputy after roundup efforts failed. Some say the shooter went too far.The 350-pound cow lived at a small ranch in Wildomar just off Bundy Canyon Rd. The family bought the animal intending to send it to slaughter.

But neighbor Tim Brown says the owners had no idea what they were getting into.

Thursday, the animal broke loose.

"Broke through my fence, then when it broke through my fence it went through my chain-link and got out onto Bundy Canyon. That's when Animal Control got involved," said Brown.

At that point, the owner wanted the animal put down. Tranquilizers used by an Animal Control officer only seemed to enrage the cow.

That's when the cow started becoming aggressive toward not only sheriff's deputies, but Animal Control officers. They were also concerned because the cow was moving toward a busy street. So the deputy fired a shot.

"They felt that it was a very strong hazard or risk to themselves and the oncoming traffic, so they had to actually put the animal down," said Riverside County Sheriff's Sgt. Joe Borja.

The sheriff's department said it was unfortunate. But animal rescue experts say the owners bear some of the responsibility.

"The different people representing the community have an obligation not to let an accident on the street or whatever happened, but I think that there should have been so much more preventative to have made it so that the calf could never have even had the opportunity to get to the street," said Jay Weiner, president of The Gentle Barn animal rescue.

Tim Brown wonders whether the animal really needed to be shot.

"I thought it was a little bit of an overreaction, but hard for me to say. That's his job, not my job.

I got the feeling he wanted to do it, but it's hard for me to say -- his job, not my job," said Brown.

The owners did not want to speak on camera. They were cited for animal-related violations.