The often-docile farm animals known mainly for meat, milk and mooing have been involved in a number of violent incidents in recent days -- including several deadly confrontations.
Reports of fatal encounters between "killer cows" and hikers in Switzerland have changed the public's perception of the seemingly placid livestock, leading Swiss authorities to release behavioral guidelines intended to help protect trail users from cattle.
Meanwhile, in California police say they were forced to open fire on a pregnant dairy cow after it twice escaped from its pen at a state fair on Tuesday and knocked down a cop.
Neither the agitated 1,200-pound cow nor its calf survived the shooting, which W. David Wilson, director of the veterinary medical teaching hospital at the University of California, Davis, called "tragic."
But he told The Sacramento Bee it had to be done.
"If they get into a frenzied situation where they want to escape, they will charge fences, they will charge people," he said. "So people can be badly injured or killed even by a cow."
While cops in California say they took down a cow to protect people, officers in Vermont say they've locked up a man who is a danger to cows.
After vandals went "cow tipping" in downtown Burlington, damaging several fiberglass sculptures of cows installed as part of a public art project, local cattle lovers deputized shopkeepers as "cow tenders" to watch over the bovine statuary, according to The Burlington Free Press.
And on Wednesday, 21-year-old Christopher Newton began serving a two-day jail sentence on felony unlawful mischief charges for his role in the "cow tipping" incidents.
Officials told the paper that Newton and another man allegedly pushed over at least two cow sculptures after an evening of drinking on May 18.
But the cows didn't go down without a fight -- one of the 150-pound statues reportedly fell on Newton, breaking his foot.