British Columbia

Cow shot 24 times by police: Incident under review

An incident involving a runaway cow that was pursued and shot 24 times by the Abbotsford Police Department is now being investigated.

Police say the cow wandering on busy roads was a serious traffic safety concern

Josh Van Koll witnessed police following a runaway cow up Sumas Way in Abbotsford. (Josh Van Koll)

An incident involving a runaway cow that was pursued and shot 24 times by the Abbotsford Police Department is now being investigated. 

Police shot and killed the renegade cow shortly after 10 a.m. PT on Sunday, after it was spotted running across some of the busiest roads in the city. The cow was first spotted near Whatcom and South Parallel roads in Abbotsford, and soon made its way onto Highway 1, darting into oncoming traffic.

"You have a family in a vehicle that strikes this animal or swerves to miss it and goes off road, you have huge implications," said Const. Paul Walker.

Police say it wandered around the city for about 30 minutes, and ended up near the busy intersection of Sumas Way near South Fraser Way.

Abbotsford police say the cow was shot because it was a traffic hazard on busy roads. (Josh Van Koll)

"All attempts during that 30 minute window were unsuccessful to get somebody or some group to come and assist us," said Walker.

"Officers and our road supervisor made the decision in the interest of public safety to put down the animal."

And now, following criticism from residents, the Abbotsford police force is ordering a full review of the incident.

"I did see a police officer with an assault rifle and about a dozen cops behind the cow following it up Sumas Way," said Abbotsford resident Josh van Koll. 

Walker says the Abby Police Department reviews all incidents when shots are fired, but the examination of this case will be a little different.

"We're trying to come up with a solution so that we can better deal with an animal, should we encounter that again in our community,"

Walker hopes another encounter never happens. He says no one wanted to see the events unfold the way they did.

With files from Jesse Johnston