VALE, N.C. - A Vale homeowner came home to find an unexpected guest using his family's pool Wednesday afternoon.
Resident Burt Throneburg said he and his family went outside to find that something was standing in 9 feet of water under the tarp covering the pool.
"I started grabbing the straps to take the cover off because I didn't want it to drown, and yanked the cover off and here's a cow," Throneburg said.
A cellphone video showed the cow after it managed to swim to the shallow end of the pool and appeared to offer no signs of wanting to cooperate with rescue efforts.
"We just thought it was a deer," Burt's daughter, Elise Throneburg, said. "Then when we uncovered its head it had horns and it was a big bull we didn't know what to do, because we knew it couldn't jump out of the pool."
Catawba County Animal Control responded to the scene, along with two rescue squads and the owner of the 700-800 pound cow.
Rescuers said they lassoed the animal's horns and someone else grabbed its tail until they were able to get it out of the pool.
Catawba County's large animal rescue team determined the heifer escaped through a hole in the fence surrounding the property where it is kept. Because the pool was covered, they believe the heifer must have thought it could walk on the pool and fell in.
Animal control said the cow was not hurt during the ordeal and is now back with her owner.
"I thanked every one of them. They all went far and beyond my expectations," Burt Throneburg said.
"It was shivering and scared," Elise Throneburg said. "We just wanted to make it sure it got out okay."
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