Beach Drive cow saga conclusion: Towed away by SPD

12:26 PM: If you have followed the comments on our original Wednesday story about the dead cow that washed up on Beach Drive, you know it was towed away by Seattle Police Harbor Patrol this morning. We are at Don Armeni, where they have just turned it over to Seattle Animal Shelter agents.

1:13 PM: As one of the SAS agents told us, it’ll be difficult for anything to live up to this – for at least the rest of the day! This morning, Beach Drive Blog kayaked over to the latest discovery site to talk with police (video interview in this story). They also tweeted when the SPD boat towed the cow away, and that’s when we picked up the chase. Watching the police boat pass Duwamish Head very slowly – and spotting a SAS truck passing us on Alki Avenue – we put two and two together and continued on to Don Armeni.

(video no longer available due to shutdown)

That’s where we found the agents awaiting the boat (and awaiting the rendering truck they had called for). In short order, the police boat tied up – cow in tow:

The agents pulled the cow onto the boat ramp, and kept their truck there guarding it till Bud Mothershed from QAR Rendering Services in Graham showed up. Note what’s written on the side of his truck:

Once he’d winched the cow up off the ramp and into his truck, Bud gave us a refrigerator magnet that points out his company deals in “dead stock removal” and “private cremations.” He’s been in business more than 30 years. And he’s the last stop for the mystery cow of Beach Drive – whose origins remain unknown, though the speculation continues (did it float over from Vashon, which has a history of cattle ranching?), and may for quite some time.

ADDED SUNDAY MORNING: The Beach Drive residents whose beach was the cow’s final unplanned West Seattle stop have sent word of praise for authorities – read on:

When the cow carcass beached in my front yard on Friday afternoon, I called the Seattle Animal Control. In a short period of time, an Officer responded. We discussed the public health implications and the fact that the carcass would inevitably continue to float north, with the high tide, until it reached the public beach at Me-kwa Mooks Park or Constellation Marine Reserve Walkway. The Officer called his supervisor who immediately decided to extract the carcass from the water. She had a number of plans, the best of which was having the Seattle Police Harbor Patrol tow the “floater” to a boat landing where they could use a winch to get it into a rendering company truck. The cow was then lashed to a nearby bulkhead to prevent it from floating out on the high tide Saturday morning. There was no hesitation, hand wringing or bureaucratic entanglement.

On Saturday morning, the Animal Control Supervisor showed up with the necessary manpower to get the job done, one way or another. She advised that the Seattle Police were amenable to her plan and that the Harbor Patrol Supervisor was en route to further assess the plans viability, from their perspective. The Harbor Patrol Supervisor arrived and then summoned their vessel. Another police officer donned a drysuit and proceeded into the water to secure a line to the carcass to ensure safe and successful towing. In time, the patrol boat arrived and within a few minutes was on its way to the Don Armeni boat launch, with the cow in tow. Seattle Animal Control also arranged for a rendering company to meet them at the boat launch.

The point of this post script is to say simply and clearly that there was quick, decisive, competent cooperative action at work here by two different city agencies to solve a relatively small but potentially stinky public health problem. There was no complaint, reluctance or ineptitude. I haven’t met a nicer group of people in a long time. It was great to watch the frequently maligned city government workers doing what they do best – getting the job done well day after day and honestly earning every dollar that they take home in salary. These were all “can do” people with a very friendly and positive attitude. This story is really about good city employees doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time.

16 Replies to "Beach Drive cow saga conclusion: Towed away by SPD"

  • Paul February 5, 2011 (1:32 pm)

    glad to hear a hungry whale didn’t bite

  • holycow February 5, 2011 (1:44 pm)

    Good job SPD you always do the work no one else wants to do well.

  • dsa February 5, 2011 (2:03 pm)

    Why SPD instead of KCH?

  • JackieD February 5, 2011 (2:07 pm)

    I love “very gross 25,000” on the side of the truck. It reminds me of Seattle Rendering Works, which I think is probably long gone: “Your friendly neighborhood used cow dealer.”

  • DP February 5, 2011 (3:16 pm)

    My folks back in Iowa don’t believe me when I try to describe what goes on with cows out here.
    Huh? Alien abductions? —Aw, that’s kid stuff, Mom.

  • islewrite February 5, 2011 (6:18 pm)

    I’m sure the cops took the opportunity to say “Mooooooove along folks. Nothin’ to see here…..”

    • WSB February 5, 2011 (6:40 pm)

      The ones we caught up with at Don Armeni – shoreside Harbor Patrol – seemed somewhat a-moosed.

  • cakeordeath February 6, 2011 (12:30 am)


  • Papa February 6, 2011 (7:04 am)

    I can’t believe that WS blog will only show a partial picture of a dead cow! Are West Seattlites that sensitive?

    • WSB February 6, 2011 (8:02 am)

      Hi, Papa. As someone said in comments on our original story, some things are better left to the imagination, if at all. If you want to see dead animals (there are exceptions – we did show the Arroyos whale last year), blood spatters, crash victims on stretchers, bloodied faces of beaten-up crime victims, sorry, this isn’t the place you’ll see them. – Tracy

  • I. Ponder February 6, 2011 (10:37 am)

    Where’s the beef?!

  • Bob Loblaw February 6, 2011 (10:42 am)

    Thanks for the story idea, TR. Helped beef up a slow Saturday :-)

  • Bob Loblaw February 6, 2011 (7:38 pm)


  • Rhonda Porter February 7, 2011 (4:32 pm)

    I guess a hammerhead shark’s head was found on Saturday off of Beach Drive at around 61st! I’m afraid to ask “what’s next!”

Sorry, comment time is over.