6 Aug 2018

Cow and calf to be killed after attacking woman and man

From Checkpoint, 5:20 pm on 6 August 2018

The cow and calf at the centre of an attack that left a man with moderate injuries have been sent to the slaughterhouse. 

A woman was out running yesterday afternoon in a South Auckland park when a cow descended on her - a man who came to her rescue was also attacked.

A witness said about 80 cows swarmed on them from different parts of the park. 

You couldn't miss the cattle nestled around the hills and tracks at Totara Park today. 

Cows with black, glossy coats and shaggy brown and white speckled hides all eagerly inspected passersby. 

But they were less friendly yesterday.

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Today the cows were eagerly inspecting passersby. Photo: RNZ / Katie Scotcher

Mike Small was out cycling with his wife when they heard a woman screaming. 

He described what happened next.

"She was steadfast, she wasn't moving, she was scared, clearly scared. 

"I saw a guy come up and stand between her and the cows - the next thing I know, he's been knocked to the ground by the cattle beast and is being pushed around like a soccer ball on the floor by their heads. 

"Obviously she was so scared, she couldn't move, she was glued to the spot scared but he was quite badly injured," Mr Small said. 

Jeff Cooper walks in the park almost every day and has done so for almost 20 years.

In that time, he said he had had one run in with a cow.

"There was a cow in front of me and as I got towards it, I should have picked up on it, it was nervous and it was running and shaking. 

"When it got to the fence, it turned around and I thought 'oh damn, that's going to chase me' so I ran, the cow came after me, but then I thought 'it's going to catch me anyway' so I just turned around, put my arms out and made myself as big as possible, and it stopped," Mr Cooper said. 

He said the incident was his fault - and it has not put him off visiting the park. 

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The cows were typically very quiet, farm manager Peter Linton says. Photo: RNZ / Katie Scotcher

Auckland Council owns the land, and in a statement, Head of Parks and Services Mark Bowater said staff visited the park this morning and identified a cow being overly protective of her calf. 

Dairy farmer Keith Riley said it was likely the herd felt threatened.  

"If there was a calf there, the cow may well have been trying to get to her baby and protect it. 

"She wouldn't have been attacking the human, rather she would be trying to get to the calf to protect it and if the human was in the road she may well have hit her. 

"I mean, they are 500-600kg animals, so if they do bump into you they will injure you," Mr Riley said.  

Farm manager Peter Linton said the cows were typically very quiet - and by slaughtering the cow and calf the problem should be eliminated.

The man who they attacked is in a stable condition at Middlemore Hospital.