BILLINGS, Mont. — A construction worker who tried to help police corral a runaway cow said the bovine charged at him "like a bull at a rodeo," tossing him into the air before continuing its rampage through the streets of Montana's largest city.
The snorting, charging cow ran amok in downtown Billings on Tuesday for more than an hour and a half, terrifying pedestrians and knocking over a bicyclist until a police sniper fired a single shot through its heart.
Morgan Logan of Acton suffered broken bones in his lower leg and had sore ribs after his encounter with the 1,200-pound black Angus cow after it escaped from the Public Auction Yards on Tuesday afternoon, The Billings Gazette reported.
Logan, 52, said he was driving a gravel truck when he saw the police chasing the animal and decided to try to help.
"I've been around livestock my whole life, so at first sight I thought it was pretty funny seeing cops chase a cow down the street," said Logan. "But she was like a bull at a rodeo."
The cow charged at him from under a tree, said Logan, who was released from the hospital Wednesday.
"I guess I saw her too late because the next thing I knew I was in the air," Logan said. "I had no fence to climb — she caught me right in the open."
Billings police Lt. Kevin Iffland said by the time Logan encountered the cow it had already tipped over a bicyclist, charged pedestrians and nearly jumped over a police vehicle.
"It's not like we are out in the pasture," Iffland said Wednesday. "This was a totally different scenario of asphalt and a lot of traffic. We are not equipped to wrangle large animals in a city environment."
A police marksman shot the cow in the heart with a rifle about two hours after it escaped.
"There were a lot of factors that were considered that went into this as well — backgrounds and angles," Iffland said, "and whether to shoot in the head or heart. We were certainly concerned with the most humane way and the safest way."
Auction yard manager Bob Cook said the consigned cow was "on the fight" as they tried to unload it at about 3 p.m. Tuesday and tried to run back into the trailer before escaping.
"I guess she saw just enough daylight through the wing doors and crashed through them," he said. "She was mad when she came off the truck and those kinds of cows can certainly be dangerous."
Jeramie Burg, 35, of Billings, was leaving the library when he first spotted the rampaging cow.
"The way the cow was snarling and scuffing, at first I thought it was a bull without horns," Burg said. "It was total chaos. At one point, I saw the cow tip over a man who was on a bicycle in South Park."
Cook said the cow's carcass was taken to the city landfill.
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