Herd on the street in Chatsworth
August 22, 2012
Meet Dave Diestel, lawman. He wears a sheriff’s star. And on Wednesday morning, the Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy responded to a call straight out of the wild, wild West.
Fifteen head of cattle—bulls, cows and calves—were treating themselves to an all-you-can-graze buffet outside a sprawling apartment complex in Chatsworth.
“They were there for the grass,” said Diestel, a 10-year sheriff’s veteran assigned to the Malibu/Lost Hills station. “They went from green belt to green belt. The canyon is just so dry.”
The animals had made their first appearance the night before. Deputies, aided by county animal control workers and an apartment-dweller with a couple of herding dogs, thought they had successfully shooed the herd back up Browns Canyon.
No such luck.
So Deputy Diestel headed back to the scene Wednesday. As the cattle chowed down on the lush green lawns of the Summerset Village apartment complex, he set off on foot to see if he could determine where they’d come from.
“I couldn’t find anything back there, just mountains,” he said.
Suddenly, though, help appeared in the form of a woman who said she was the neighbor of the rancher whose cattle had wandered off.
The woman, armed with what Diestel described as an “Indiana Jones”-style bull whip, was able to persuade the cattle to git along.
“She drove them the rest of the way,” he said. “It was funny as heck.”
The woman with the whip and the rancher who owns the herd did not respond to calls seeking comment.
Ranna Issa, who manages the apartment complex, said residents seemed more amused than frightened by the bovine brigade.
“It was comical, to say the least,” Issa said. “They didn’t come near any residents…Really, it was just the grass they were after.”
As for Deputy Diestel, he was still marveling at the turn his morning shift had taken.
“It was all before breakfast,” he said. “I’ve never had to herd cattle before. That was definitely a first for me.”