A cow attack was the cause of a woman's death in Iowa on Saturday. The woman, 60-year-old Jean Fee and her family were visiting a farm in Benton County when the cow became aggressive and attacked.
Normally, cows are gentle creatures. Regardless, even the gentlest of creatures can become aggressive. Animals are unpredictable. No matter how well a person thinks they know an animal, it is never entirely possible to know what the animal is thinking or feeling.
Terry Engelken, an associate professor at Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, said, "It's pretty unusual for a cow to become aggressive. We have a few instances of [cow attacks] across the country every year -- but it's uncommon. For it to result in a fatality is very uncommon."
The fact that cows do not normally act aggressively is what makes Jean Fee's death even more tragic. She and her family probably did not realize they had anything to fear.
According to Jean's son, Matt Fee, the family visits the pasture often "to feed ears of corn to the cows." Saturday, Jean's husband and grandson accompanied her on the outing.
What could have triggered this cow attack?
Engelken said, "It's common for them to become aggressive if they have a newborn calf."
Saturday, there were three calves in the pasture.
Unfortunately, nobody except Jean knows what really happened in the pasture that day, and she is no longer here to say.
Matt Fee said, "My dad went back to the house to get my nephew a drink. The best we can figure is the cow became aggressive, and my mom was protecting my nephew, and the cow hit her with its head and it stopped her heart."
Fortunately, Jean's grandson, a 1-year-old boy, was not hurt in the cow attack.
"It took paramedics about 20 minutes to get to the farm and the woman was flown to a Cedar Rapids hospital where she died."
What a sad - and unexpected - tragedy for Jean Fee's family.
Animals, no matter what kind, are unpredictable. No matter how gentle an animal appears, people need to consider that an animal's behavior can change without warning.