A Phoenix family’s pet cow had to be put down after they found it injured on their ranch, surrounded by more than a dozen softballs, which a veterinarian believes must have been thrown at the animal using a potato launcher.
The family found the suffering cow with severe injuries on Friday morning, Phoenix Sgt. Steve Martos told KPHO-TV.
The animal was later euthanized by a veterinarian who told authorities that a potato launcher or some other kind of device had to have been used in order to sustain such severe injuries.
"The early indications are that perhaps this cow was injured by someone who may have thrown these softballs at this cow," said Martos. "Unfortunately, as I understand it, this cow had to be put down by a vet."
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Police say some of the 13 neon and white softballs on the ground nearby were marked as property of the Desert Shadows Middle School.
Authorities are investigating for possible animal cruelty charges. Because the animal died, offenders would be charged with a felony.
Neighbors worry neighborhood kids are responsible.
"We actually love having this rancher here," David Jones, who lives near the ranch, told KPHO. "It kind of gives you a sense of country in the neighborhood, driving by and seeing the cows and seeing the farmland. So, it really disturbs me that somebody would do this in our neighborhood."