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Ad for Wandering Angus Really a Bum Steer

TIMES STAFF WRITER

All this week, Carolie Jensen has been running an unusual ad in the lost and found column:

“FOUND--Steer, Creek Road, Ojai . . . Call ASAP.”

The Black Angus wandered into the Ojai ranch where Jensen leases pasture for a few horses, and she has been wondering why nobody claimed it.

Thursday afternoon she realized she was giving want ad readers a bum steer.

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“It’s a cow,” ranch manager Clif Simonson said after taking a good look at the roving bovine.

Jensen, who admits that she “didn’t get down on the ground and look” before deciding the animal’s sex, said she will change the ads. She said she still is surprised that nobody claimed the heifer, which appears to have been well cared for.

“It’s a nice-looking little steer,” she said, before learning that it was no bull. “Real friendly. I kind of think he’s somebody’s 4-H project. They went on vacation and he got out.

“He’s well taken care of. . . . This guy looks like he’s had a bath or two.”

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And plenty to eat, she added, estimating the animal’s weight at 1,600 pounds.

“He doesn’t look like a pasture animal. Usually the ones out of pasture are not as well fed.”

Whatever her usual diet, the heifer looked like a contented cow as she munched on grass and alfalfa cubes in a 25-acre pasture Thursday afternoon.

“She eats twice as much as a horse,” Jensen said. “You’re looking at 20 to 24 pounds of food a day.”

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Simonson first noticed the young Black Angus last Friday, when it ambled up the mile-long driveway of the Lion Mountain ranch he runs in Ojai.

“I see this cow walking down the road,” Simonson said Thursday. “It wandered over to the corral and there it sat.”

Simonson herded it into the nearest pasture, the one where Jensen’s 26-year-old stallion, Bailey, is spending his retirement years.

“They get along fine,” Jensen said. “He just thinks it’s a baby horse.”

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The cow has a numbered ear tag but no brand or other identifying marks. In addition to the ad in the Ventura County Star-Free Press, Jensen ran a notice on Ventura County Cablevision’s public-access channel. She also contacted the 4-H Club, which wasn’t hard because her husband, Larry, is the local 4-H chairman.

There were no reports of lost livestock, no errant animals, no beef thief.

The heifer is worth about $2,000, a 4-H spokesman said. Jensen said it’s costing her $5.50 a day to feed the cow, and she’s not sure what she’ll do if nobody claims her.

Simonson, however, has big plans for the lost cow, which he none-too-affectionately has named “Lunch.”

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“You know those cartoons where the cat is looking at Tweety-Bird? That’s me,” he said. “If the owner doesn’t show up, it’s barbecue city.”


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