Conn. volunteer firefighters, farmers team up to save cow stuck in mud

Firefighters, with the help of the local farmers, used several ladders, some fence rails, plywood and winches and two ATVs to move the cow back to its barn


David Owens
The Hartford Courant

HARTFORD, Conn. — Volunteer firefighters and some local farmers teamed up Wednesday afternoon to help rescue a cow that became exhausted after getting stuck in a swampy pasture.

Dave Bousquet, deputy chief of the Harwinton Volunteer Fire Department, said the call came in about 2:30 p.m. from a home on Woodchuck Lane. The family that owned the cow was able to free it from the mud with an all-terrain vehicle, strap and winch, but the exhausted cow was cold and too weak to walk.

Firefighters, with the help of the local farmers, used several ladders, some fence rails, plywood and winches and two ATVs to move the cow back to its barn. (Photo/Harwinton Volunteer Fire Department)
Firefighters, with the help of the local farmers, used several ladders, some fence rails, plywood and winches and two ATVs to move the cow back to its barn. (Photo/Harwinton Volunteer Fire Department)

Firefighters, with the help of the local farmers, used several ladders, some fence rails, plywood and winches and two ATVs to move the cow back to its barn, where its owners and some friends covered it with blankets as they waited for a veterinarian.

“She was definitely a little cold and weak,” Bousquet said.

The conditions were tough, Bousquet said. Just walking to the cow would cause you to sink a foot and a half into the mud, he said.

Sandra Davis, whose husband Scott Ragaglia owns the 900-pound Scottish Highland cow named Jennifer, said cows are usually pretty good about avoiding muddy spots in the pasture.

She said her husband and several neighbors worked for several hours Wednesday to free the cow from the mud, but needed more help to get her out of the field. She called the firehouse and got an answering machine, but did not want to call 911. She later talked to the state police who then got a hold of the fire department.

Firefighters employed their tools, and relied on the farmers who had the expertise in dealing with a cow, to gradually move the animal to safety. They got Jennifer onto a piece of plywood and winched her out of the field.

“All pitch in to get the job done,” Bousquet said. “I’ve got a great group of guys to work with.”

Davis said some neighbors helped out too and Jennifer is now in a heated barn with blankets over her. The veterinarian spent several hours with Jennifer and said she had hypothermia.

“The vet said the next 24 hours are key,” Davis said. “She has not stood up on her own yet, but she’s sitting up and eating.” Because cows have complex digestive systems, eating will actually generate some body heat, Davis said the vet told her.

Wednesday was not the first time Harwinton firefighters rescued a cow. A few years ago, a cow wandered onto the cover over an in-ground swimming pool and got stuck.

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©2018 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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