In what counts as one of North Carolina’s more unusual animal rescues this year, an 800-pound heifer had to be lassoed by the horns and pulled from a family’s swimming pool in Newton, 40 miles northwest of Charlotte.
Catawba County Animal Control believes the cow had been in the pool for two hours or more, after wandering onto the property from its home less than a mile away.
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Jenna Arsenault, the county’s Chief Animal Control Officer, said the agency got a 911 call at 10 a.m. Wednesday to the 2300 block of Arrowhead Drive, and arrived to find the young female bovine (yes, some heifers have horns) defiantly staring from the pool. The home is in a cul-de-sac, not far from Fred T. Foard High School, and the pool was only partially fenced in.
“It was actually swimming around at one point,” Arsenault said. “There were no stairs for it to get out.”
Authorities believe the cow got into the pool by accident and was lucky not to have drowned. “It’s surrounded by landscaping and cows tend to graze, so we think she was grazing and walked across the pool cover, thinking it was solid,” Arsenault said.
Into the water it fell and stayed, until a team of 10 people managed to get a lasso around its horns, she says. The group, which included members of the Claremont Rescue Squad, eventually got the animal’s two front legs stabilized on the concrete, and then everyone pulled.
The cow was safely back with its owner by 1 p.m.
“In my seven years here, this is the first one we’ve gotten out of a pool, but we have had some unusual rescues,” Arsenault said. “We’ve had them stuck in ditches, and we got one with its horn caught between two trees.”
Burt Thornburg, who owns the pool, told the Observer’s news partner WBTV that he looked out the door and thought something fell into the pool.
“I come running outside out here and there was a set of horns up underneath the cover,” he told WBTV. “I started grabbing the cover and ripping it off and uncovered a cow.”