Activists Try to Save Yvonne, the Runaway Cow

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For weeks now, a runaway cow named Yvonne has been wandering the woods along a Bavarian highway, eluding capture and stalling traffic. Authorities have the authorization to shoot her, but animal rights activists hope to reel her in by appealing to her maternal instincts.

The search is on in Bavaria for an Austrian cow named Yvonne who has been on the loose since May when she escaped from the farm where she was being fattened up for slaughter.

The wily runaway has become a local celebrity of sorts in the southern German state. She has outsmarted police officers and has become known for grazing at night, like a deer. But her days of freedom might soon come to an end, as officials in the Mühldorf district have decided that, for security reasons, she can be shot.

The decision came after Yvonne jumped in front of a police cruiser, stunning the officers who were then unable to capture the bovine bandit. Because of the danger she poses to traffic in the area, Yvonne must be removed, the local officials decided. Two officials are now reportedly searching for her with tranquilizers and guns.

But concerned animal rights activists hope they can find her before the police and spare her life. The Gut Aiderbichl Animal Sanctuary has purchased the cow for €700 ($988), and has since been combing the area with all-terrain vehicles.

Unable to corral the cow, the activists have even armed themselves with an infrared camera, says Hans Wintersteller, manager of the sanctuary near Salzburg, Austria, which houses hundreds of rescued cows, horses, goats, sheep, deer and other animals.

Appealing to her Maternal Instincts

The group had called for a massive search for the brown cow, but because of the rainy weather on Thursday, just 14 people came out to support the task. The group hasn't ruled out using tranquilizer darts to capture Yvonne, but they hope a new, more humane tactic might encourage her to emerge from the woods.

Wintersteller and his colleagues have purchased Waltraud, a former stall-mate of Yvonne's, and a calf named Waldi, and hope the cow will see them and be drawn to them by a need for companionship. They also hope to appeal to Yvonne's maternal instincts.

"After all, she has had a calf herself," Wintersteller said. But so far the bait hasn't worked. "We'll keep trying," Wintersteller added.

kla -- with wires

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