Wed, Sep

Is The Best Guard Dog a Cow? Police Get Help Herding Suspect


ANIMAL WATCH - German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Pit Bulls may be better at barking and launching an attack, if necessary to stop an unwanted intruder, but they would have a hard time competing with the smooth mooves of a herd of cows that last week led pursuing police officers to where they had corralled a fleeing suspect seeking cover in their fenced pasture. 

CNN calls it “bovine intervention!” 

A Facebook media release by the Boone City PD on May 11 describes how two days earlier, Justin Russell Minton, 34, of Miller’s Creek made a serious mistake when he sped away during a traffic stop by Boone police. He led officers on a reckless vehicular pursuit through a rural area of North Carolina, where he abandoned his car at the side of the road and was hoofing it across an undeveloped fenced area. There he got the full attention of a resident herd of cows to whom the presence of a human signals food, and they circled around him. 

The collaboration between the cows and cops developed due to the fact that the speed and erratic driving pattern of the fleeing suspect had caused the pursuing police officers to remain a safe distance behind and they could not see which way he headed after ditching the car, the department shared on its Facebook page. However, the disturbed cows  provided “unexpected, but welcomed” assistance.” 

The Department could only speculate on whether the cows objected to the stranger intruding or wanted to help with the arrest but gave them well-deserved credit for the outcome. 

Boone Sergeant Dennis O'Neal told WCNC, “Officers noticed when they were conducting their ground search for the individual, that cows in a certain pasture began moving. Based on that movement, they felt like the suspect was in the area of the cows. 'Apparently, cows do not want suspected criminals loitering in their pasture and quickly assisted our officers by leading them directly to where the suspect was hiding.” 

“The cows communicated with the officers as best they could,” the PD report states. They were undoubtedly expressing their frustration over the invasion by someone who had rudely intruded into their pasture. “They were behooved to just lead the officers to the suspect's location,” the PD stated. The herd surrounded the unwanted intruder and officers took over from there. 



The Boone City PD stated, "The introduction of the concept of cows in crime fighting led to the department pondering the proposal of introducing a new "Bovine Tracking Unit." While the benefit in the current case was unquestioned, the idea of a permanent appointment of staff cows brought up a variety of factors and questions, including the potential versatility of cows as crimefighters, the issue of methane, and how to fit a “police cow” into the seat of a vehicle. 

There also must be a cost study on whether cows are more cost-effective than K-9 dogs and how police will transport them to crime scenes. 

Not mentioned would also be the issue of limiting the physical sustenance of police officers with K-9 cow partners, since stopping at a local burger stand could potentially result in eating a relative of a “coworker.” 

Also, It is only natural that cows would feel a greater affinity with someone who brings food, which was another mistake Mr. Minton made in assuming he could enlist their silence and acceptance of him hiding in their field, without making it worthwhile. This brings up the question of whether a police cow could be bribed by a more knowledgeable criminal. 

After the cows turned him in, Minton was charged with eluding arrest with a motor vehicle, driving with a revoked license and disorderly conduct and his next court date scheduled for June 28 in Watauga County. The PD noted that “there was no indication whether a charge would be added for the unsworn assistance.” 

We at the Boone Police Department are always looking for better ways to serve our community," the Facebook page says, "We may be a small town; but we are a progressive, forward-thinking law enforcement agency. For rural law enforcement, we want to be the tip of the spear.” 

Minton's next court date is scheduled for June 28 in Watauga County.  He received a $20,000 secured bond and is charged with eluding arrest with a motor vehicle, driving with a revoked license and disorderly conduct, with no indication of whether a charge would be added for the unsworn assistance.  Boone Police described it as 'unexpected, but welcomed,' and later expressed their gratitude to the cows 

Cows Lead Fugitive to Waiting Police


 “What's black and white and pulled a suspect over?” 

On December 15, 2022, Eyewitness News -ABC 7 NY/ introduced a report on how “a herd of upset British cows got worldwide attention for chasing a man being pursued by police in England directly into the arms of the law.”. (The Telegraph provides the IR (night vision) video and audio captured at the scene and shows the criminal apparently deciding he’d rather face the criminal-justice system than the herd of cows unhappy that he was trespassing in their pasture. 

When officers approaching the scene asked for information on the suspect’s location, they were told by a helicopter crew member, “He’s actually being chased by some cows at the moment.” 

Cows often follow or chase a human who enters their area because it is a signal they will be fed. But, it appears once they discovered the intruder had nothing to offer,

they switched their focus to the police officers arriving and pushed the suspect with them as they migrated toward the new potential food source.  He could either go with the flow or be trampled.  Cows have a keen sense of reciprocity. Lacking any valid reason to be there, he was pushed directly into the waiting arms of the arresting officers. 

The British helicopter crew member then told the officers on foot to “thank the cows” for helping with the arrest. 

There was no discussion of what crime the man had committed, but the cows were taking no “bull” from him.

(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former Los Angeles City employee, an animal activist and a contributor to CityWatch)  


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