Nfld. & Labrador

No charges after police investigate photo of cow outside during blizzard in Torbay

No charges will be filed in connection to a cow that was outside in this weekend's blizzard, according to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

Owner was delayed getting home, according to RNC

This photo of a cow outside a house in Torbay on Saturday drew plently of online reaction. (Facebook/Renee Gosse)

No charges will be laid in connection with a cow that was outside in this weekend's blizzard, according to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

The owner of the cow had been delayed getting home due to "circumstances beyond his control," said police in a statement late Monday afternoon.

"He took measures to provide adequate shelter upon his return,"

The RNC said officers also spoke with officials from the chief veterinary office and ultimately concluded that, "there are no enforcement measures that can be taken under any current regulations," said police.

Police referenced the code of practice for beef cattle, as outlined by the National Farm Animal Care Council.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary says it spoke with the cow's owner and staff within the chief veterinary office before deciding no charges will be laid. (CBC)

For the extreme cold guidelines, recommended practices include providing bedding to insulate against bare ground and to reduce mud and manure build-up on hides, which can increase heat loss."

And for protection from extreme weather, the council states: "Beef cattle in Canada are housed in a variety of ways depending on age, size, and reproductive state. Systems may include range conditions, fields, corrals or yards, indoor pens or stalls. Treed areas or geographical features (such as coulees) can provide shelter from wind and sun."

Picture draws outrage

The image of the cow huddled close to the side of a house during Saturday's snow storm had generated outrage and concern online, and led to several calls Saturday evening to the Town of Torbay from people asking them to do something.

"A picture is worth a thousand words, and I guess in this case it was worth a thousand posts on Facebook," Mayor Craig Scott told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show on Monday.

"It kind of took off and took on a life of its own."

Scott said even though the town doesn't have authority when it comes to enforcement of the Animal Health and Protection Act – especially for cases involving livestock – town enforcement officers did visit the home in question to check things out later Saturday evening.

"They kept going back over the course of the night," he said. "They went two, three four times and didn't see any animals outside."

Craig Scott is the mayor of the Town of Torbay. (Facebook photo)

Scott said the Town of Torbay doesn't have the right to accuse the owner of the cow of abuse or neglect, and can only pass the information on to the police.

"People are emailing me telling me, 'Why doesn't the town just go and take this person's animals?' Well, we don't have the authority to do that so we have to move the investigation on to the people who do have that authority," he said.

CBC has made repeated attempts to contact the owner of the house — and cow — but a voicemail box was full on the weekend and still on Monday.

With files from the St. John's Morning Show and Geoff Bartlett