Buoyant cow still port's problem

The remains of a cow floats in the water just off North Beach in Kingston May 2. The cow washed on shore around April 25.  - Kipp Robertson/ Kingston Community News
The remains of a cow floats in the water just off North Beach in Kingston May 2. The cow washed on shore around April 25.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson/ Kingston Community News

KINGSTON — A cow continues to vex the Port of Kingston, remaining afloat in the Puget Sound, just north of the ferry terminal. The cow washed up on North Beach April 25, first reported by a port employee, and there is no precedent as to how it could be disposed of.

"No [other] organization is willing to step forward and willing to take care of it," said Kingston's Harbormaster Kevin Van Vliet. Vliet said he has conferred with about eight agencies, including Kitsap County. Generally, an animal carcass is considered solid waste, according to Department of Ecology spokesperson Larry Altose. However, because of its position, Van Vliet said most of the agencies were at a loss.

Kingston's North Beach is located on the opposite side of the ferry terminal from Mike Wallace Park.

Initially, it was thought the water would carry the cow back out to sea with a high tide, before any cleanup could happen. That wasn't the case; Van Vliet said the cow was wedged into a pile of rocks. On Sunday the port decided to sink the animal.

With the Department of Agriculture supervising, the port cleared a path through the rocks for the cow to be rolled back into the water. The port then tied it to a buoy to prevent it from causing a watercraft accident. County sheriff deputies shot the cow, hoping the water would fill the holes and sink the mammal. As of May 2, about a quarter of the cow was still visible.

"I'm wondering how many costs and procedures do we have to go through … to rectify this," Van Vliet said. "If she would sink, it would essentially be a feast for many crabs all summer."

DOA officials also confirmed the cow had been vaccinated, and although they could not find any tags, Van Vliet guessed it came from a beef farm.

He said they are open to suggestions from anyone willing to help finish the disposal, and conclude this mystery.

"I'm hoping it just goes down," he said.



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