Dead cow beached in Penn Cove

Living on a Whidbey Island beach can have its challenges. There’s the trespassers, the duck hunters, the wind and the large, rotting carcasses in the backyard.

A resident of Madrona Way near Coupeville called 911 last Friday to report a dead cow on the beach. The call was passed on to Erica Martell, an environmental health specialist with the Island County Health Department.

Her advice was simple: leave it alone and let the tides take the body out.

“Puget Sound is fully equipped to take care of it,” she said, explaining that sea creatures from crabs to microbes will enjoy a steak dinner, even if it’s a bit gamey.

Martell said a dead cow washing ashore really isn’t that unique of an occurrence. Last month, she received a call about an alpaca cadaver washing ashore on Camano Island. Over the years, she’s received reports of a number of dead creatures, including a pig and plenty of marine mammals, floating up onto the sand.

Martell pointed out that tides have been really high lately, which could make it easier for the waves to bring a bobbing bovine to shore. She guesses that this particular cow accidentally entered the Skagit River somewhere in that county, then got swept over to Coupeville.

“There’s so many farms and so many animals around here,” she said.

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