Neighbors, firefighters rescue cow that fell through ice
Photo by Tom Rivers
SHELBY – A beef farmer’s neighbors and Shelby firefighters rescued a steer that had fallen through the ice today just after noon.
The top photo shows Shelby firefighter John Miller II holding a pet rescue mask on the steer so the animal could get oxygen. The Shelby Volunteer Fire Company has the mask for dogs and cats, but it worked for the steer and helped the animal with its recovery.
The steer is owned by Jack Farrell of Dunlop Road. He was thankful the animal was able to be pulled out of the water. The steer is 7 months old and about 900 pounds. Farrell said the steer was holding its head up and bellowing, good signs it would be OK. The steer hadn’t been able to get on its feet after getting pulled out of the water.
Photos courtesy of Russ Peters
Firefighters put a shelter of hay bales around the animal and the other steer gathered around it.
“It might take a couple hours before it can get back on its feet,” said Jason Watts, a Shelby firefighter.
Russ Peters, pastor of the Alabama Full Gospel Church, was driving on Dunlop Road just after noon when he saw the steer’s head sticking out of a pond. Peters pulled over and called his wife. Another neighbor, Connie Murray, also came over. Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 12:11 with the message a cow had fallen through the ice.
Peters, Murray and another neighbor, Justin Gray, found Jack Farrell and they tried to get the steer out. Peters went in the water which was up to his waist. He put a rope around the steer’s neck and they were going to use a tractor to pull the animal out, except the tractor was out of gas. Murray ran to her house and got some gas. While she did that, Peters knocked some of the ice loose, creating a channel for the cow to get out.
Photos by Tom Rivers
The tractor, once it had gas, was used to pull out the steer, which by then was no longer breathing.
Shelby firefighters arrived on the scene and then helped revive the steer, giving it oxygen through a pet rescue mask and thumping on its back to get out fluids.
The steer bellowed and showed signs of life. But he wasn’t ready to get up. Firefighters put a warm blanket on him, and made a shelter with hay bales.
Farrell was optimistic the steer would be OK. He thanked his neighbors and the firefighters.
“It’s a good deal,” he said.
The rescued steer sits on the ground and recovers after its ordeal in the cold pond water. Jack Farrell, owner of the farm, expects the steer will recover and get back on its feet.
Firefighters don’t recommend people go on thin ice to make a rescue.
Peters said he knew the animal meant a lot of Farrell, and the pastor didn’t want to watch it die.
“It is my honor to help,” Peters wrote in a message to the Orleans Hub. “I thank God for helping me to act despite my fear!”
(Updated at 4:58 p.m.: Shelby firefighters say the steer died at about 4 p.m. The animal may have had hypothermia or fluid in its lungs.)