Eastern Cape govt battles to have 'rabid' cow that killed teacher tested

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A cow suspected of having rabies has killed an Eastern Cape teacher. (File)
A cow suspected of having rabies has killed an Eastern Cape teacher. (File)
Soeren Stache/picture alliance via Getty
  • A cow that attacked and killed an Eastern Cape teacher will be sent for tests to determine whether it has rabies as soon as the Eastern Cape government can convince its owner to allow it to do so.
  • Zininzi Mthethandaba was attacked while crossing a grazing land on 21 December.
  • Although the cow's owner initially agreed with veterinarians and traditional leaders that it should be put down, he later resiled from the agreement.

A cow that attacked and killed a teacher in Qumbu in the Eastern Cape will be sent for tests as soon as the Eastern Cape government can convince its owner to allow it to do so.

The cow gored Zininzi Mthethandaba and bit her leg while she was crossing grazing land on 21 December. She died in hospital, the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform announced this week.

Rural Development and Agrarian Reform MEC Nomakhosazana Meth and Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane sent their condolences to Mthethandaba's family.  

The department said Meth was committed to have a study conducted into the behaviour of the cow. The department will also vaccinate all animals in Mdeni Village against rabies.  

Rabies suspected

DRDAR spokesperson Ayongezwa Lungisa said veterinary scientists from the department suspected that the cow had rabies.

"The MEC is aware that the community may live in fear of another person befalling animal biting. The MEC therefore commits the department to do everything possible to avert the situation from reoccurring," Lungisa said. 

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Lungisa added that a team of veterinary officials was sent to assess the animal and they found that it did not exhibit any clinical symptoms of rabies. He said the cow and its calf were isolated at the owner's homestead for daily monitoring and assessment.

Owner reneged on agreement

Subsequent to a meeting between the cow's owner, traditional leaders in the village and the department's veterinary services officials, it was agreed that the cow should be euthanised.

Lungisa said the owner later reneged on the agreement.

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The department is trying to persuade the owner to release the animal to it so that it can be taken to the Dohne Research Institute in Stutterheim for further examination by the team of veterinary and livestock scientists.

Mabuyane discouraged residents from making jokes about the incident: "A family has lost a loved one here so we appeal to the public to stop making jokes about this incident."

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