RICHMOND, Mo. — The Ray County, Missouri Sheriff says the decision for his deputies shooting and killing two cows on the highway Thursday was for public safety.

Sheriff Scott Childers posted a video Friday afternoon on the incident.

Childers said the sheriff’s office was called out to M Highway Thursday night after a driver almost hit a cow.

When deputies arrived on scene they spotted two full grown size cows that were well over 1,000 pounds each, according to Childers.

Childers said his deputies were able to get the cows off the roadway and into a field that was unfenced.

The sheriff’s office called dispatch to see if there were any cattle owners in the area and didn’t see any, according to the sheriff.

Childers said one deputy stayed on scene and the other knocked on doors in the area and said know one knew who owned the cattle.

Some people in the area attempted to help the deputies get a rope on the cows and get them in a fenced field but Childers said the cows wouldn’t let them get close.

“During this time my deputies had been out in the cold and wind for two hours doing a great job, really trying to figure this out when we got a call about a domestic disturbance,” Childers said. “This house we have a lot of history there so my deputies had to leave and due to the fact I could not have those cows get on M Highway because if you’ve ever driven M Highway, you know it’s very hilly and very curvy.”

“We’ve seen what deer can do to a vehicle, a cow can certainly be catastrophic and I can’t have loss of life due to a cow,” Childers said. “So I made the decision to have them shoot both the cows.”

Childers said they got in touch with the landowner, who was not the owner of the cows but since they were put down on his land technically they are his.

“He said he didn’t want them and we were more than welcome to them,” Childers said.

Childers said he got in contact with a butcher and they were going to butcher the cattle and the meat would be donated to the needy. However, by the time the sheriff’s office was able to get to the cows on Friday, the meat was already bad.

The sheriff said he’s asking anyone who owns livestock in the county to contact dispatch at (816) 776-2000 to get their name on the list to be contacted in the future if a situation like this happens again.

You can watch Childers full response to the incident here.

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