Wandering livestock a problem for Saanich pound officers

It’s not just deer and bad drivers that can cause traffic chaos on Saanich streets, but livestock, too, is becoming problematic on the municipality’s rural roads.

Twice last month Saanich pound officers were called for reports of cows on the road.

“They’re actually quite a pain in the butt,” said pound officer Susan Ryan, “because it comes in as a traffic hazard.”

On May 10, three cows escaped from a farm in the 5700-block of West Saanich Rd. And on May 20, a cow was spotted in the area of Brookleigh and Bear Hill roads.

In both cases, all the pound’s resources – two officers – were sent to the call. Traffic had to be shut down.

“They’re very time-consuming calls,” Ryan said, because all officers can do is go door-to-door trying to identify the owners. Once that’s done, the cows need to be slowly corralled, on foot, back to its home. “They create huge problems for traffic and for us.”

These types of calls are infrequent, but they happen a few times each year.

“Cows in the middle of the road are a definite traffic hazard, so it becomes a priority because it has the potential for people to get killed – you speed around a corner and hit one of them,” Ryan said.

Though cows aren’t very temperamental, she said their unpredictability makes it an even more dangerous situation.

“We just recommend (farmers) check on their fencing periodically, make sure it’s in good repair so your livestock can’t escape.”