OGDEN -- Charges may ensue for an Ogden man who startled the neighbors by butchering a cow in his driveway over the weekend.
Police were called to the scene at 1:44 p.m. Sunday after the cow's owner began harvesting the animal. A patrolman was responding to a caller who saw a cow being trailered to the home in the 2700 block of Gramercy Avenue.
The caller then reported hearing the cow's audible mooing, followed by what sounded like a gunshot, said Police Lt. Troy Burnett. Then the mooing stopped.
The patrolman's report said when he arrived at the scene a half-block above Monroe Boulevard, "the cow was in the process of losing its head," Burnett said.
The man sawing at the animal's neck, the owner of the beef, denied shooting the cow on the premises, telling the officer the animal had been dispatched outside the city limits.
The officer took the information and filed a report that will be screened by the city attorney's office for possible charges, Burnett said.
"I assume the patrolman had them make arrangements to do the butchering out of plain view," he said.
"It boggles my mind," Burnett said. "It's not illegal, but it's absurd that people would think slaughtering a cow in their driveway is OK. Maybe on the west side of the county on one of the farms. But in the middle of a high density residential area?"
If evidence confirms the person shot the cow on-site, a charge could be filed of discharging a firearm within the city limits, he said.
Other possible violations could include disorderly conduct or health code violations, he said, the latter question which will be referred to the Weber-Morgan Health Department.
The family reporting the unusual bovine demise called their children indoors before calling police, suspecting something unusual taking place, Burnett said.
If any children had witnessed the butchering, and become upset, that could possibly constitute disorderly conduct, said Burnett and Mike Junk, Ogden city's senior prosecutor.
Junk said disorderly conduct includes language of behavior creating "public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm."
Junk said he hadn't been forwarded the case yet as of Tuesday, but said his review would also include the state's animal cruelty statute. "There are a lot of possibilities."
Lori Buttars, spokeswoman for Weber-Morgan Health Department, said the department had not yet been contacted by police about the cow case.
"We have not started that process," she said. "But we'll work with police as needed." The department had received at least three media calls about the case, she said.
The health department would likely be involved if the meat of the animal was sold without the proper permit, or if complaints surfaced about debris from the slaughter left out to decompose, she said.
Disposal of the carcass would be under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Agriculture, Buttars said.