When cows attack

01:43, Jan 31 2009
STROPPY COW: Ted Walker feared for his life during an attack by a cow in Cornwall Park that left him with a broken arm and extensive bruising. He wants to warn others of the danger.

A jogger feared for his life during an attack by a cow in a popular Auckland park that left him with a broken arm and extensive bruising.

A morning run through the farm at Cornwall Park, on One Tree Hill, has been part of Ted Walker's routine for almost 15 years.

But the Greenlane resident never expected to be attacked by a full-grown cow protecting her calves.

While running through a paddock on July 26, he passed a cow who had recently given birth to two calves.

She knocked him to the ground, kicking and head-butting him.

"I was absolutely terrified and scared witless," he says.

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"I thought it was all over. I quite literally thought she was going to kill me."

Mr Walker has always completed his run on a public path that runs through the paddocks at Cornwall Park.

He says many people of all ages use the same path each day.

Left with a broken arm and bruises all over his body, Mr Walker wants to warn others about the dangers of getting too close to cows in the park.

The area has signs up to caution visitors to stay away from cows during the calving season, so Mr Walker has always kept his distance.

But on the morning of the attack, the cow was in the middle of the path and Mr Walker didn't see the calves behind her.

By the time he realised and swerved away, she had knocked him to the ground and was kicking and head-butting him.

"I was trying to get up but I couldn't and then I saw my arm break as the hoof went through," he says.

"There was no one around and I was calling out, but I don't think anyone could have done anything anyway."

The cow stopped attacking when her calves walked away and Mr Walker was able to make it back home, where his wife took him to hospital.

He says other people might not have been as lucky.

"If it had been a child or an elderly person they wouldn't have stood a chance. I think generally it is safe but there are times when a cow can become on edge and that's when it's dangerous."

Cornwall Park manager Peter Maxwell says the cow that attacked Mr Walker had given birth to twins two days before the attack and was still in a fragile condition.

He says cows become very protective of their calves and do not like people to get near or touch them.

He says there are signs warning people not to go near the cows during the calving season between July and November and staff try to keep an eye out.

"But this is an unfortunate incident and we are very sorry he has been injured," he says.

"It's very annoying but it's part of the nature of the cows to protect their calves."

Mr Maxwell advises people visiting Cornwall Park to keep well clear of the cows and never step between a cow and her calves.

They should also never touch the lambs because sheep will abandon lambs which have another scent on them, leaving them to die.

Central Leader