'Legendary' cow prank impresses some, disappoints others
June 23, 2011
TOP: Officer Ralph Nuno helps lead a cow out of a stairwell in Laben Hall. (Matt Carmichael/UC Davis)
BOTTOM: Milker Paul Domer rounds up the cow after getting her out of the stairwell. (Twitter)
By Dateline staff
At least it wasn’t a cow tipping! Instead, it was a cow in the dorm. That’s right, a real live cow, found munching on alfalfa in a Laben Hall stairwell on June 7, amid spring finals.
“I figured right away it was a senior prank,” said Ralph Nuno, bike patrol officer with the campus Police Department, who got the call first thing in the morning.
On his way over to Tercero student housing, he stopped at the Dairy Barn, where he hooked up with Paul Domer, a milker, to help corral the cow, just in case the call proved to be the real thing.
And, yes, it was the real thing. There she was, in the stairwell’s ground-floor landing, where she had plenty of room to move around, Nuno said.
The cow had been spirited away from the Dairy Barn, which, conveniently, sits almost right across the street from Laben Hall. Nuno said he did not know who put the cow in the stairwell, or how long the animal had been in there.
Jeremy Ogul, a former editor of The California Aggie, said he learned of the incident via Twitter. He responded with a tweet of his own: “This prank is legendary! People are going to be talking about this for years. I’m impressed.”
Nuno was more amused than impressed. “I don’t know the first thing about farming,” he laughed.
Nevertheless, this city boy — he worked with the Oakland Police Department for 20 years before coming to UC Davis 2½ years ago — petted the cow to keep her calm, and even called her by a couple of pet names, “Daisy” and “Mama.”
“I held up some alfalfa, and she followed us right back to the barn,” he said.
Dairy Barn friends, in a posting on the barn’s Facebook page, noted that they were neither amused nor impressed:
“We friends of the dairy are very disappointed by the actions of some individuals yesterday who jeopardized both human and animal health and safety by leading a halter-trained and pregnant heifer into Tercero,” reads a post from 3 p.m. June 7.
That night, the friends added: “Also, contrary to the report aired on KCRA (Television), she did not ‘escape and end up in a stairwell.’”
The Department of Animal Science also weighed in on Facebook: “Many thanks to Paul Domer, one of our milkers at the UC Davis Dairy Barn, who took charge in getting the dairy cow that was stuck in the Tercero dorms back to safety earlier this week!”
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