David Payne compares the scene to a clip straight out of National Geographic.
Two pit bulls latched onto the neck of a Shorthorn Heifer, snarling, barking, covered in blood.
“They were locked on like a vise. Like two lions taking down a wildebeest,” says Payne, who saw the attack begin while in his backyard off Lougheed Highway, near the Ramada Inn, on Tuesday around 5:30 p.m.
“They were just crazy. I think if it wasn’t for me, the cows would have been dead.”
Payne can’t say what made him turn to look down the driveway, past a fenced-up historical house, to the paddock where the cow and young bull had been grazing.
“Maybe they mooed … at first, I thought it was coyotes hanging off the calves’ necks.”
Armed with a golf putter, Payne rushed at the dogs, who refused to release the cow, even after several whacks with the club. The young bull could do little to protect his mate.
The dogs continued to attack the heifers even after Payne sought the help of his neighbours, whose son rushed in to help armed with a shotgun.
Payne estimates the dogs stalked and attacked the cows for 20 minutes until they broke through a fence and ran onto Lougheed Hwy. – the pit bulls in pursuit.
Waving his putter, Payne and a neighbour, who was clutching a shotgun, gave chase. They ran along the busy highway, as the cows dodged cars and fled up Park Road into the Somerset subdivision.
“People were yelling at us to leave the dogs alone,” says Payne, admitting the scene must have been rather weird to rush-hour commuters.
“They didn’t notice the cows being chased.”
The female pit bull got hit by a car on the highway, but the male continued to hound the cows until they reached a cul-de-sac and darted to the safety of a backyard.
“Once they were in the backyard, I could talk to them, keep them calm,” says Payne, who had managed to flag down a pickup truck for a ride and followed the cows into Somerset.
The cow had an eight-inch gash on its snout, a torn ear and bites on its neck. The bull, too, was covered in blood and had gashes on his torso.
They were picked up by their owner, who lives Maple Ridge.
“The cows are going to be OK,” says Pitt Meadows bylaw officer Leslie Elchuk.
The female pit bull who was hit by a car was taken to a vet in Langley. The male was turned in by his owner, a blueberry farmer who lives on Old Dewdney Trunk Road.
Elchuk said the dogs’ owner is co-operating with the investigation and has indicated he is willing to pay the vet bills.
Both pit bulls are currently impounded at a kennel in Port Coquitlam.
Elchuk, however, has yet to determine whether the dogs will be deemed “dangerous” or destroyed. She has to review witness statements and a police report before she decides.
“Just by what I’ve got and the photographs of the cows, I kind of think they are pretty vicious dogs,” Elchuk said.
“But I really need to be fair and look at everything. I just want to make sure I cover all the bases before I decide.”