A motorist on Highway 89 called 911 on Tuesday with a report that a cow had fallen through a cattle trailer and was being dragged down the pavement, according to Maj. Andy Shock of the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Department.
"The man told us that as he was driving behind the trailer, he saw that the cow had fallen through the floor of the trailer and was being dragged along the pavement as the driver of the vehicle continued down the road," he said. "The man told us that he was horrified to see the animal in so much pain and was sickened by the trail of blood on the road behind the trailer."
The driver of the trailer, Michael Vance, 54, of Cabot, turned into a business along the highway and the caller followed him to tell him about the animal. Shock said that the caller expressed disbelief about what happened next.
"The witness told us that he spoke with Vance to tell him about the cow and Vance acted like he did not care," Shock said. "He told several witnesses at the business that he had been taking the cow to the sale barn in Conway and he would just turn around and drive her back to Cabot."
Despite protests from the witnesses, Vance got back in his vehicle and proceeded to drive three more miles with the cow’s leg scraping against the pavement. He was pulled over by a Mayflower police officer and held until a deputy arrived.
Shock said when the deputy arrived, Vance told him that the cow must have pawed at the boards in the trailer to have fallen through.
However, upon closer inspection, the deputy found several boards missing in the trailer.
"The cow was sectioned off to the front of the trailer and could not get anywhere else," Shock said. "The first two or three boards by the gate of the trailer were gone, which is where the cow had fallen through."
Shock said the injuries to the animal were so severe that the animal had to be destroyed.
"A veterinarian was called to the scene and upon examining the animal decided that due to the injuries it suffered, the most humane option was to put it down," he said.
Shock said that the witness who called for assistance was adamant about doing the right thing.
"The witness stayed at the scene and asked our deputy to help other animals and make sure that Vance faced charges for his actions," he said. "Based on the statements of the witnesses and Vance’s actions, he was arrested" on an allegation of animal cruelty, which is a class "A" misdemeanor.
Shock said that Vance’s actions not only stunned witnesses to the incident, but were also extremely inhumane.
"To be so negligent about it is just inhumane," he said. "After seeing the photographs and talking with the witnesses, the level of disregard for the animal is beyond comprehension."
(Candie Beck is a staff writer and can be reached at 505-1238 or at firstname.lastname@example.org)