PARKMAN, Maine — A cow that escaped its owner en route to its new home on Friday was apprehended after dark by two deputies who used a Taser to subdue the elusive young bovine.
“For literally hours the farmer and cow played hide and seek; with the cow easily winning the game,” Piscataquis County Chief Deputy Robert Young posted on the department’s Facebook page about the incident. “Things became serious when the cow ended up in the middle of a dark country road. And there it stayed.”
The cow’s new owner, farmer Keith Cookson of Cambridge, called Maine State Police, Maine Warden Service and the local animal control officer, and “the advice he got was to shoot it and be done,” Young said, adding that Cookson also was told that if a motorist hit the cow while it was in the road, he would be held accountable for damages.
“He spent all day Friday trying to get help,” Deputy Kyle Wilson said Tuesday.
Wilson said he got the call when a state police dispatcher called the Piscataquis County dispatch center asking if someone could assist the farmer.
“If a citizen is asking for help, how could you not go help? It was getting dark, and he was really worried about the cow in the road,” he said.
Wilson and Deputy Trevor Duby were the two to help out.
“When I got there, I spoke to the farmer and said, ‘How about we try something crazy. How about we try and Taser it,’” said Wilson, a Taser instructor who has deployed the electronic shock device more than two dozen times in trainings and in the line of duty.
“There was basically two options — shoot the cow or try this,” he said. “We decided, let’s try this and see if it works.”
April Cookson, Keith Cookson’s wife, said “that was the best idea for the situation at the time,” especially since “tons of people tried to help” to no avail.
The couple didn’t want to lose the cow, which they bought along with its younger sibling from the family of a man in Parkman who lives about 7 miles away from their farm.
It took two shots of the Taser, which shoots electronic probes to create the neuromuscular incapacitation, to subdue the cow.
“The deputy takes position and fires the Taser; sure enough, the cow goes down,” Young said in the Facebook post. “But before the farmer can tie off the bovine’s legs, it starts thrashing and kicking and up [the cow] stands, now on the run.
“And yes they did, they pursued that cow down the road in a cruiser, pulling along side and firing the Taser yet again,” he said. “And again the cow goes down, this time the farmer is able to secure all of [its] legs and it’s safely loaded onto a trailer. Mission accomplished!”
The Cooksons thanked the sheriff’s office repeatedly on Tuesday.
The 6-month-old cow escaped about 3 p.m. on Bridge Road and didn’t make it home until about 10 p.m., Keith Cookson said.
“We only had her for about 10 minutes” before she escaped, said April Cookson, who was following the trailer and saw the cow jump out.
“You couldn’t even see her [over the back gate], but she was just big enough” to get over it, she said. “She did not land on her feet. She is not a cat.”
The cow suffered a little road rash on its face from the jump, but it was otherwise unharmed, the owners said.
April Cookson posted a thank you on the county sheriff’s Facebook story and said the new addition to the farm is “behaving now” that it is home.
“Maybe we should name her Taser,” she said in the post.
Wilson got a chuckle out of the cow’s possible nickname.
Young posted a picture of a cow with its tongue sticking out with the story on Facebook, but it’s not the cow involved, Wilson said.