Two cows being transported to Ohio State’s Veterinary Hospital escaped Wednesday afternoon and caused a chaotic two-hour round-up on the campus athletic fields next to Lincoln Tower.
OSU Police and university officials used at least seven police cars, a university tractor, a cattle prod and tranquilizers to corral the cattle.
Kaylee Smith, a fourth-year in interior design, saw cows as she left work and tried to get into her car at Lincoln Tower.
“One of the cows charged one of the female veterinary students and flipped her up in the air, but she was unharmed,” Smith said.
Police and OSU officials spent more than two hours rounding up the two Belted Galloway cows.
The cows were being brought to the veterinary school to have their hooves trimmed, a regular procedure among some breeds of cows.
However, they were not used to being in trailers, the animals’ owner told police.
When the owner opened the trailer to get the cows out on his own, one of the cows knocked him down. Once they had escaped the trailer, the cattle followed a route that took them southeast along John Herrick Drive and eventually onto a series of athletic fields south of Ohio Stadium.
The field “was actually a good place for them to be in because three quarters of that area is fenced in,” said OSU Police Deputy Chief Richard Morman.
When police arrived at the fields shortly after 1:30 p.m., officers tried to use their cars to barricade the animals while veterinary students tried to subdue them.
But before officials could contain either cow, one escaped and retraced its path north, ending up at Vivian Hall.
Both cows were very aggressive, police said, and escaped from a makeshift barricade police assembled with their cars. The cow that stayed at the fields escaped three times, once over the hood of a police car, said Josh Cain, an OSU Facilities and Operations Development student employee.
After more than an hour, officials subdued that cow using a tranquilizer at the end of a lance.
“They pinned the cow with the police car and utility vehicles and tranquilized it,” Cain, a fourth-year in logistics management, said. “After a couple minutes of the cow being tranquilized, they lassoed it and started pulling it into the trailer.”
Police patrol cars followed the other cow to the parking lot behind Vivian Hall, where it became aggressive again and rammed a police car. An officer was in the car with the window down when the cow charged. He was being treated at the emergency room Wednesday evening, but police say they don’t think the injury is severe.
OSU veterinary staff didn’t have a long-range tranquilizer gun on hand, so they called officials at the Columbus Zoo, who sent an employee to tranquilize the second cow. Once the cow was tranquilized, police lassoed it and led it into a trailer.
Both of the cows were returned to their owner.