Austrian cows trample German hiker to death

Police said the woman was hiking with her dog in the Tyrol’s Stubaital valley

Austrian police said the woman was hiking with her dog in the Tyrol’s Stubaital valley and entered a fenced enclosure containing about 20 cows and calves

Austrian police said the woman was hiking with her dog in the Tyrol’s Stubaital valley and entered a fenced enclosure containing about 20 cows and calves

Fri, Aug 1, 2014, 01:00

A herd of Austrian cows charged a German hiker and trampled her to death on Monday in a Tyrolean valley.

Austrian police said the woman was hiking with her dog in the Tyrol’s Stubaital valley and entered a fenced enclosure containing about 20 cows and calves.

The animals became agitated and charged her and the dog. Attempts by rescuers to resuscitate her failed and she died on the spot. Police said they believed the cows perceived the dog as a threat to their calves and charged it – and its owner.

German prosecutors have opened an investigation into the death and have not released the dead woman’s name, in line with Austrian practice.

The case prompted a silly season response in Germany, with the Bild tabloid splashing the “killer cows” story.

A local man told Austria’s Die Presse daily that the animals were not known for their aggressive behaviour, however, police said a hiker had experienced a close call with another herd in the region.

It is the second bovine death in Austria this week after a 43- year-old was gored to death by a bull in Steiermark on Tuesday.

Josef Hechenberger, president of the Tyrolean agriculture chamber, said a new campaign was under way in the region, mounting signs in hiking regions to inform hikers about the dangers of grazing cows.

“Knowledge about animal behaviour is no longer common knowledge,” said Josef Kössler, Tyrolean state veterinarian. “One should keep a distance of 50 metres and, if a dangerous situation ensues, one should remain calm and not turn one’s back to the animal.”

Austria’s “Four Paws” animal protection society backed calls yesterday for a new information campaign.