Cloaked in black and under the cover of darkness, two cows escaped from the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences Tuesday night in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood.
Their brief taste of freedom, however, was trumped by the taste of grass as they strolled only a few yards past a portion of fencing that collapsed near 115th and Pulaski and proceeded to graze.
The escape plan of Cool Hand Luke and Dr. White (as the black cows are known to students and faculty) was simple: lean on the fence.
“At no point was a cow in somebody’s kitchen,” said Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th), who provided a healthy amount of cow quips in lieu of thought bubbles in the style of The Far Side, the comic strip by Gary Larson that often featured cows in various situations.
“You know the old saying, ‘The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence?’ That’s what the cows thought,” said O’Shea, who is on the school’s advisory board.
The cows made good their leisurely escape about 8:30 p.m.
School staffers had guided them back inside their fenced-off grazing area by 10 p.m., but not before one of them was spooked by a barking Doberman Pinscher out for a walk with its owner, O’Shea said.
Curious passersby snapped pictures. Head-scratching motorists slowed. And police arrived to assist.
“The cows were not issued citations for jaywalking,” said O’Shea, a huge backer of the agricultural school.
“The kids spend time in the barn and out in the field working with the animals. It’s a wonderful school and, frankly, we should have more like it.”
Principal Bill Hook labeled the bovine break: The Great Cow Escape of 2015.
“One of the officers on the scene joked: We’re looking for a suspect in a black leather jacket,” Hook recalled with laugh.
Hook said the black angus cattle, which weigh about 1,250 pounds each, have 12 acres of grassland on campus to roam and feed.
The cows will be sold later this year by students who keep a lookout for ideal prices on the beef market. The school has six cows, he said.