Otley gran 'lucky to be alive' after cow trampling

Wharfedale Observer: Otley hairdresser Janet Jackson back at home after a cow attack left her hospitalised. Otley hairdresser Janet Jackson back at home after a cow attack left her hospitalised.

An Otley grandmother has spent two nights in hospital after being charged by a cow while taking a Sunday walk.

Janet Jackson, of The Crossways, says she is lucky to be alive following an attack that left her with crushed ribs and severe bruising.

The 56-year-old had been out following the Six Dales Trail with her husband, Andrew, at Dob Park – near Lindley Reservoir – last Sunday when the incident happened.

She said: “We just turned a corner and there were cows and calves on the actual track.

“I didn’t have any time to react because within seconds a brown one had gone straight for me, pushed me over and then tried to roll on me. I thought I was going to die – if you can imagine a full-sized cow bearing down on you, well, it didn’t look good.

“If my husband hadn’t been there I don’t think I would be alive.

“He wasn’t hit but just pushed aside, so he started throwing stones at it and swearing and shouting to get it off. Otherwise, I don’t think I’d be here.

“Adrenaline must have kicked in and I managed to walk to the nearby farm. The farmer – it wasn’t his herd, I don’t know who owns them – was absolutely brilliant and drove us up to my car, and from there we went to Harrogate Hospital.

“I’ve got crushed ribs on my left side, I can’t walk very far, I’m bruised all over and I’ll need to take at least ten days off work to recover.

“But it could have been a lot worse. If my grandaughter had been with me it doesn’t bear thinking about, it could have been a really tragic accident.”

Released from hospital on Tuesday, Janet is keen to alert people to the danger posed by cattle with calves.

She said: “They shouldn’t have been on that public right of way. Whoever owns them should have them in a field with a gate, closed away from the public, because we all know that cows can attack if they feel their calves are in danger.

“I don’t even know if the farmer concerned is aware this has happened, but people need to know that this can happen at this time of year.

“I’ve lived here all my life and always been aware of cows and the need to be careful around them, but this has been quite traumatic.”

A National Farmers’ Union spokeswoman said: “While we do not know the full background to this incident, farmers take their duty of care to people in the countryside seriously.

“It is important to note that like all animals, cattle are inquisitive creatures and are curious in their nature, and will be especially nervous if surrounded by their young.

“We strongly advise that people take note of Natural England’s Countryside Code which gives clear guidance on how best to get the most out of the countryside safely and responsibly.

“Our best wishes to Mrs Jackson in her recovery.”

Despite her close shave, Janet can still smile. She said. “They were referring to me as ‘cow lady’ in hospital and it did make me laugh, it’s the way I am to see the funny side of things. But it could have been really bad.”

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