The Sideshow

‘Ninja Cow’ beguiles Nebraska town

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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The elusive and "really smart" Ninja Cow

It didn't happen overnight, but residents of Plattsmouth, Nebraska have finally outsmarted a deceptive, wayward bovine known as the "Ninja Cow."

"It sounded like hoofs on the pavement, and by the time I could focus on it, all I could see was the rear end of whatever it was," local computer programmer Kevin Moon told the Wall Street Journal.

Wayward livestock can pose serious threats to human and other animals. Even a small deer can destroy a car, seriously injuring the occupants in a collision. Still, for months, the Ninja Cow eluded police and locals, making late night appearances on private lawns, leaving behind only cowpies as evidence of its existence.

The effort to bring in, or even bring down, the Ninja Cow was not lacking. Police and local experts tried just about everything from luring the cow with biscuits and gravy to capturing her on an infrared camera. They played cow sounds on a laptop. But every attempt failed. Pretty much the only thing they didn't try was recreating the cow costume from Top Secret.

And the more adept Ninja Cow became at eluding capture, the more her story captured the hearts and minds of Plattsmouth residents, spawning several Facebook fan pages and talk of an annual Ninja Cow Day celebration.

Local Police Chief Steve Rathman refused to bring his gun to bear on the animal. "This isn't something they teach at the police academy," he said.

The town even brought in a contractor, 55-year-old Terry Grell, to capture the beast. "If you're interested in getting this cow caught, you can give me a call," Grell said. "But that answering machine was probably full of people that thought they could catch it."

Eventually, Animal Control Officer Sue Baker hired ranching partners John and Jessica Vallery to do the job. A local tipster called in to say that while Ninja Cow was still on the loose; they had discovered her newborn calf. Using the baby as bait, the Vallerys were able to temporarily capture the Ninja Cow, but she broke out of her cage, dragging parts of the 12-foot fence with her.

That was the final straw for Chief Rathman, who gave the kill order to take down Ninja Cow. "I didn't take the action lightly," he said.

Thankfully, it never came to violence. A pair of "real old-school cowboys" eventually brought Ninja Cow to justice, where she is adjusting to her newly domesticated life. "I wouldn't say she was wild, but she was really smart," said Neil Johnson, who helped bring Ninja Cow in. "The first few days she was throwing herself at the fence. Now, she eats right out of my hand."

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