Charges filed against owner of pet cow and neighbor accused of killing it

CTSY: Amber Richardson

EMBDEN (WGME) -- An Embden man is charged with animal cruelty, accused of shooting his neighbor's pet cow when it wandered onto his property.

"The way she was shot, it was point blank," said Amber Richardson.

Richardson said the three-and-a-half year-old cow named, Sophie, belonged to her aunt and uncle.

"It breaks my heart, because they didn't just take a cow, they took a pet," she said. "They took someone's best friend."

According to the Somerset County Sheriff's Office, Sophie got out of her pen last week and wandered next door onto a neighbor's property, where she reportedly damaged an SUV with her horns. Authorities said the neighbor, identified as Mason Sparrow, 24, shot and killed her.

"He could've easily come down and been like, 'Hey, your cow did damage, how we gonna fix this?'" said Richardson.

Instead, Richardson said, Sparrow returned the family's pet by dragging it from a pickup truck.

She said they weren't allowed on the property to get her body themselves, and have seen no proof Sophie caused any damage.

"You could pull in there with your vehicle right now (and) she'd just walk around your vehicle," Richardson said. "She'd come up to you and just pat you or sniff you or whatever.She'd give kisses."

Sophie's owner, Jaime Danforth, is facing a civil violation for animal trespass.

Sparrow is charged with cruelty to animals. He couldn't be reached for comment on Friday.

In a statement, Sheriff Dale Lancaster advises the public that owners are responsible for maintaining control of their domestic animals, but says the law is also clear: You can't kill a domestic animal that belongs to someone else without their consent. If one is trespassing, he recommends calling the animal control officer.

"It's just mind-boggling, all the way around," said Richardson.

Richardson said her family members are devastated and want to make sure this never happens again.

"We just want justice done for Sophie," she said.

Sparrow and Danforth are both scheduled to appear in court in November.

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