Police officers from multiple agencies descended on the quiet Park Ridge street Thursday morning — a place where the last spring lilies bloom and where coyotes occasionally come to soak up the sun.
Residents were told to stay inside and remain silent. But the police did not draw their guns. No Tasers in sight.
Rita Thorpe, 81, knew it was safe to come out when she heard the mooing. Runaways have been caught.
“I texted my son and said, ‘How many cops does it take to catch a runaway cow on Park Ridge?'” Thorpe explained moments later.
Actually, it took some professional help from Wagner Farms in Glenview – guys who came with trailers and a generous supply of hay.
The cow – actually a bull – along with the pigs and some chickens came from Northridge Preparatory School in Niles, about a mile away.
“Students appear to have engaged in what is described as a ‘senior prank' by bringing live animals to school,” according to a Niles Police Department news release. “During the activity, a live cow ran away from the students and went into the local neighborhood.”
Late Thursday morning, all that was left of the schoolyard joke was a portable wooden pen with straw scattered inside. Representatives for the school had no comment for the Chicago Sun-Times reporter.
Moments later, Niles police issued another statement, saying the animal had been purchased on Craigslist, with the bull coming from near Winneconne, Wisconsin, and the hog from Dixon, Illinois. The chickens belonged to a student, police said.
Police also said school administrators “refused to press criminal charges”, but that they were conducting an internal investigation.
The students were issued a citation of the Niles village bylaws and will be required to appear at the Niles Adjudication Court. Among the quotes: disorderly conduct and accumulation of animal waste-not permitted.
Roberta Barker looks closely at the cow. He said he was in bed around 7am when he heard a lot of noise coming from outside. The steer turned out to be in his backyard on Beau Drive in Park Ridge.
“I came to the window and looked out and I saw police officers. Then I got a little worried because I thought there might be a break in,” said Barker.
He witnessed the Wagner Ranch people tease the animal into the trailer.
“They told me when they first arrived it was very agitated and then sat down and calmed down,” he said.
Moments later, the only evidence of the incident is a pile of hay.
“It was an adventure, a bit of excitement for Park Ridge, which is usually pretty quiet,” said Barker.
A spokesperson for Wagner Farm said the cow had been taken to an animal rescue centre. No information was provided about the fate of the pigs or chickens.