Beach Drive dilemma: What to do with a beached cow?

February 3, 2011 at 1:55 pm | In West Seattle beaches, West Seattle news | 48 Comments

Pam lives on the water in the 5900 block of Beach Drive (map) and says, “It’s the wild kingdom out here – we get seals, whales, birds …” But never anything like this.

Late last night, she posted in the WSB Forums, “My husband was out walking our dog on the beach and found a dead cow hog-tied on our beach … We’ve contacted the police, who are on their way.”

Today, the cow’s still on the beach (as also noted by Beach Drive Blog), and Pam and her husband are trying to figure out how to get rid of it.

The police did check it out, confirms Southwest Precinct Lt. Ron Smith: “A third watch supervisor responded and did indeed locate a carcass which appeared to be used for bait for crab pots. Complainant was advised to call animal control if the carcass was still there after 0900 hours.”

Pam says they did just that. Responding to a note from WSB this morning, she replied, “Animal Control can’t help. The cow is on private property, so they suggested we call a rendering company. I think my husband is going to try to send him out to sea when the tide comes in.”

We asked if we could come over for a photo – from a respectful distance – and she agreed. (If you want to see it, you’ll have to click here.) As we walked out onto the bulkhead, she noted that even if pushing it into the high tide temporarily solves their problem, she realizes that may just end with the cow washing up on somebody else’s beach later.

So, she, and we, are wondering: Any other (serious) suggestions for how to dispose of the carcass, or someone who might be interested in taking it away? First time we’ve heard of a cow on or near the beach since the famous one found afloat last March.

8:20 AM UPDATE: In comments, Pam reports: “UPDATE: Mother nature has taken care of it. High tide and strong current. Hopefully it won’t become one of (the) neighbors to the north’s problem.”

9:39 AM UPDATE: And in a newer comment, Lura reports: “UPDATE: Cow is on beach in 5400 block.”



    Comment by RobertSeattle — 2:06 pm February 3, 2011 #

  2. We had a dead sea lion wash up on our beach a few years ago. We had to get rid of it ourselves too. We floated it out at high tide, and pushed it out into the current. it seems a little rough today for pushing a carcass out very far. Try to push it out as soon as possible, it will get putrid and smell awful.

    Comment by kathleen — 2:10 pm February 3, 2011 #

  3. There is a rendering plant out by where I work off Becon Coal Mine Road just down from Skyway?

    Comment by Lola — 2:20 pm February 3, 2011 #

  4. Wow how sad and horrible for everyone! POOR COW! POOR PEOPLE stuck with the cow on the beach! 1 800 Got Junk may be able to help.

    Comment by Noelle — 2:24 pm February 3, 2011 #

  5. This is just bizarre. Any speculation on where it may have come from? Has it been flooding up there? I suppose if it has a brand on his rear end, the authorities could find out whose farm it came from.

    Comment by Peggy Van Aller — 2:29 pm February 3, 2011 #

  6. Try contacting a large animal vet – I know there is one in Snohomish – they may know how to properly dispose of the cow carcass – I don’t think putting it back in the water is the best solution.

    Comment by jwws — 2:29 pm February 3, 2011 #

  7. Bait for commercial crab??!! Blechhhh….

    Comment by wsmom — 2:34 pm February 3, 2011 #

  8. A few weeks ago there was a dead deer on the beach near the Fauntleroy ferry terminal.

    Comment by LB — 2:45 pm February 3, 2011 #

  9. Herfy’s is a local tradition. Maybe Dick’s?

    Comment by Anon — 3:05 pm February 3, 2011 #

  10. Is it usual to use dead cows for crab bait? Seems illegal somehow.

    Comment by Rebecca — 3:16 pm February 3, 2011 #

  11. King County actually has regulations/advice on this. Here’s the link:

    Comment by jwws — 3:16 pm February 3, 2011 #

  12. Offshore currents there aren’t very strong. How about putting out a sign–”Free Brined Beef, All You Can Eat?” ;) Sorry, not helpful, but I couldn’t resist. I remember a dead gray whale washed up not too far north of there some years back, and the various agencies who you’d expect to do something about that were remarkably unhelpful.

    Comment by sailorgrrl — 3:24 pm February 3, 2011 #

  13. Do you think it’s a calf? It looks kind of small.. and fresh?? Hard to say from the distance. Very strange.

    Comment by Wedneday — 3:28 pm February 3, 2011 #

  14. Ahh, the eternal question: “Who (besides me) is supposed to do this dirty job?”

    Comment by Michael — 3:44 pm February 3, 2011 #

  15. Holy Cow!

    Comment by Vanessa — 3:45 pm February 3, 2011 #

  16. Moo sushi (mooshi)? Couldn’t resist either.

    Comment by 56bricks — 3:52 pm February 3, 2011 #


    Call them maybe.

    Comment by Argiles — 3:53 pm February 3, 2011 #

  18. my husband thinks that Betty White might be able to help:

    Comment by Rhonda Porter — 4:15 pm February 3, 2011 #

  19. The Orcas are out there waiting for their steak dinner right now!

    Comment by kathleen — 4:40 pm February 3, 2011 #

  20. I’m thinking BBQ…no offense to the cow. :)

    Comment by onceachef — 4:41 pm February 3, 2011 #

  21. Hi there.

    Kara here from Seattle Animal Shelter. Two of our officers are heading out to check out the cow. While it is correct that an animal washing up on private property is the property owner’s responsibility, we are a bit concerned about possible animal cruelty. We will do our best to help.

    If anyone has an exact address or property owner name, please send it to

    Kara Main-Hester
    Seattle Animal Shelter

    Comment by Kara Main-Hester — 5:03 pm February 3, 2011 #

  22. Kara – I’ll send your address to Pam, the property owner, in case she hasn’t seen your comment … Tracy (WSB editor)

    Comment by WSB — 5:10 pm February 3, 2011 #

  23. CowBusters!!!!

    Comment by marty — 5:44 pm February 3, 2011 #

  24. Tied up for crab bait??? Huh? Sounds, like animal abuse to me.

    Comment by CR — 6:00 pm February 3, 2011 #

  25. seems waaay too big for a crab pot..

    wonder if it was being transported on a ship, died enroute and thrown overboard??

    Comment by M — 6:04 pm February 3, 2011 #

  26. Yikes. I feel sorry for the cow and the property owners. Gross

    Comment by Dc — 6:40 pm February 3, 2011 #

  27. I don’t know how it cannot be animal cruelty since the poor cow was hog-tied and wound up in the sound. I wonder if it’s branded… I hope this can be figured out.

    Comment by Rhonda Porter — 6:53 pm February 3, 2011 #

  28. The cow obviously knew too much and couldn’t keep it’s mouth shut – “moo-ing” all over town. I told ‘em to use cement overshoes……

    Comment by Eddie — 7:46 pm February 3, 2011 #

  29. poor cow!

    Comment by Mikaela W — 9:30 pm February 3, 2011 #

  30. I find it absolutely horrible. It is a youngster by the size of it. So it was hog tied before or after it was chucked overboard?! There are some worthless people out there. Seriously.

    Comment by can — 9:48 pm February 3, 2011 #

  31. A cow that is hog-tied and drowned is a cow that has been abused. Cows don’t hog-tie themselves. I am glad to read that the Seattle Animal Shelter is concerned about animal abuse. However, I am dismayed that other comments here have been flippant about the death of a living creature.

    Comment by Beatrice — 10:39 pm February 3, 2011 #

  32. Just wait for a really high tide.

    Comment by kenair — 10:48 pm February 3, 2011 #

  33. UPDATE: Mother nature has taken care of it. High tide and strong current. Hopefully it won’t become one of neighbors to the north problem.

    Comment by schwartzseattle — 7:33 am February 4, 2011 #

  34. My husband’s aunt and uncle live in Southern WA and they had someone shoot a deer on their property. It sat there for a day or so before they found it (they have a large property). It was a big huge male deer and they called Animal Control and were told they had to get rid of it themselves. They are in their upper 70′s/early 80′s and could not move it themselves. Anyway, they finally got it removed but it was a huge hassle.

    Comment by Bonnie — 8:07 am February 4, 2011 #

  35. Did the Seattle Animal Shelter ever make it out to see the cow?

    Comment by Rhonda Porter — 8:39 am February 4, 2011 #

  36. I can’t understand why so many people jump straight to animal cruelty and assume that the cow was tiad before it died and that it drowned. It washed up on a beach. There is no indication of how it died. It may have died in the loving arms of the owner. They had to tie it in order to hoist it up and put it in a grave for a decent burial. On the way to the cemetery the truck was levitated by an alien spaceship. After the probing was completed the cow was lovingly placed in the water and then it washed up on shore. My story makes as much sense as yours. . . . . and is based on as much proof as you have.

    Comment by West Seattle Art Attack — 9:03 am February 4, 2011 #

  37. UPDATE: Cow is on beach in 5400 block.
    If it died in the last few days, the bald eagles would be all over it. If it died in the last week or two, the crows would be very interested.
    Instead, the birds are totally ignoring it. I think it’s been dead quite awhile.
    I agree with the above post that the most likely explanation for the rope is that someone was hauling or moving by dragging an already dead animal. Someone might be guilty of illegally dumping a dead animal, or flood waters on a river months ago may have washed it downstream, and it may have been rotting for a long time. Death doesn’t always mean murder or abuse.

    Comment by Lura — 9:25 am February 4, 2011 #

  38. Lura – thanks for the update. You might consider e-mailing the SAS person who left her address higher up the comment thread – in case they’re still interested in taking a look. Pam told me in e-mail she was going to do that this morning, but now of course it’s out of her jurisdiction, so to speak … TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:38 am February 4, 2011 #

  39. Try lots of gas and a match. Once you get the fat hot enough it’ll go on it’s own.

    Comment by M — 10:19 am February 4, 2011 #

  40. “Try lots of gas and a match. Once you get the fat hot enough it’ll go on it’s own.” Sounds like its right out of a horror movie. Political Correctness aside, That would smell horrid and be scary to see!

    Comment by Noelle — 2:32 pm February 4, 2011 #

  41. I see a veggie dinner in my future tonight

    Comment by Rhonda Porter — 2:46 pm February 4, 2011 #

  42. Looks like someone (not me) knew who they could call.
    The Seattle Police boat is towing it out.
    Someone with a Humane Society jacket is on the beach, too.

    Comment by Lura — 11:06 am February 5, 2011 #

  43. Oops, not Humane Society. The jacket say Humane Animal Law Enforcement. There was a police diver as well.

    Comment by Lura — 11:13 am February 5, 2011 #

  44. And off into the mist the police boat goes, towing a cow softly behind.

    Comment by Lura — 11:14 am February 5, 2011 #

  45. Oh my gosh, I missed this part of the drama until Rhonda tweeted about it. Don’t suppose you snapped any photos with a telephoto lens … I wonder if I can catch up with the boat as it heads … where?

    Comment by WSB — 11:20 am February 5, 2011 #

  46. Sounds like animal cruelty. Hope Animal Control can help. Strange, strange.

    Comment by Jo P — 2:13 pm February 5, 2011 #

  47. Thanks to WSB for thinking about the soft of hearts out there (like me) and not posting the picture directly in the blog post. Best left to the imagination.

    Comment by Rebecca — 8:15 pm February 5, 2011 #

  48. I hope someone will test this cow for BSE. This is exactly how it enters the food chain. Crabs eat cow. You eat crabs. You get mad cow.

    Comment by nancy — 5:40 am February 6, 2011 #

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