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Owner of cow on highway says its death was unnecessary

Leila Fujimori
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A cow approached cars backed up on Farrington Hwy Thursday afternoon. (Courtesy Jason Wilson / EPIX Mobile Auto Repair)

A loose cow on Farrington Highway that was shot dead by police did not have to die, its owner insisted Thursday.

But “some yahoo” — apparently a bystander — spooked the animal, said Bud Gibson, owner of Rocker G Livestock Ranch near Makakilo.

Gibson said his ranch hands had cut open the fence to allow the cow to go back into the pasture.

“If you leave them alone, they’ll go back in,” he said by telephone. “Then this guy comes up and messes the whole thing up.” 

He said the cars and people created chaos and the cow ended up in survival mode. Video shows the animal charging at a person and hitting a car, knocking off the sideview mirror.

“The cow became agitated, and the officers were forced to take action,” said Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu.

Officers fired three shots, she said. 

Video by a passerby shows the cow stumbling and slowly going down.

“It’s sad that it happened,” Gibson said. “We love our livestock.”

Gibson said she was a 5-year-old breeding animal, a “mama cow” who had a calf every year.  

Eyewitness Jason Wilson was heading to Nanakuli on Farrington Highway near Ko Olina at 3:30 p.m. when he saw traffic slow and cars veer off to the left and right.

“I could see it was a cow,” he said. “It was moving eastbound on the westbound lanes near the Ko Olina offramp. From the looks of it, it was trying to find his way back up.”

Gibson was in Waimanalo when he got the call Thursday afternoon about a cow of his on Farrington Highway. He sent his ranch hands to take care of the situation.

The cow remained to the side of the road for 90 minutes until police arrived on scene and shut the road down, according to KITV-4. 

The situation backed up traffic for several hours. 

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