A resident of the town of Torbay, just outside St. John's, is launching a complaint over what she says is an act of animal cruelty.

Renee Gosse says she was driving home about an hour after Saturday's snowstorm began, and noticed a cow tethered next to a house.

Gosse was moved by the scene and felt compelled to act.

"I stopped my vehicle, took a photo of the cow, and a video, actually, and posted them on social media and I contacted the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary but unfortunately I didn't get a good response from them," Gosse said.

The response from the public was more immediate, with people sharing their outrage across social media. Gosse drove by the house later and could no longer see the cow, but said she wasn't sure if it had moved indoors or just out of sight.

Torbay mayor, Craig Scott

Torbay Mayor Craig Scott says when a municipal enforcement officer looked for the cow around 6:30 p.m., he couldn't find it outside. (Facebook photo)

Torbay Mayor Craig Scott said he was out of his home for awhile that afternoon and didn't receive notification of the situation until later. He said a municipal enforcement official was sent to the home immediately, but the cow was no longer outside at that point.

"I know that post was done at 3 o'clock in the afternoon and we didn't receive an official notification until 6:20," Scott said, adding that the best way to get a hold of someone from the town is to call or email.

"It's no good to just post something on Facebook and hope someone from the town is going to see it."

Still, throughout the evening, he said, he received several angrily worded e-mails wondering why he didn't do anything to help the cow.

He said he understands the emotion the photo elicits but said the town couldn't do much because it would fall under provincial jurisdiction.

"We do try and address things as quickly as we can, but we have to do it within our legislative authority," said Scott.

Gosse said some friends instructed her to contact the provincial Department of Fisheries and Land Resources. She said she was told by a department staff person to send in an official complaint and her concerns will be investigated, which she said she plans to do Monday.

Calls to the house's owner were unanswered, with a recording saying the voicemail box was full.