RUSTBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Pictures of a cow strapped to a flatbed truck in rural Virginia went viral on social media, Wednesday evening.
A witness says a man told him the cow's hips were broken.
A tipster told ABC 13 the photos were taken at the Foster Fuels station in Rustburg, Va.
We went straight to Campbell County Animal Control and officers say the way someone strapped the cow down could be the most humane way.
At first glance, the picture may make you think otherwise, but Campbell County Animal Control Officer Joseph David says after looking into the situation , he found the cow had broken hips, and was given from one personal farm to another.
The man transporting the cow took him a short distance to his farm, and slaughtered the cow right away.
David says he would have bigger concerns if the cow was left immobile and not killed after transport.
He says the cow needed to be taken away from the farm and other animals , and the only other option would have been to drag the cow.
"Probably not the best idea you know, pulling up where everybody can see and showing off to everybody, but when it comes down to it, it's about the only way, the most humane way you could do it," said David.
The Campbell County Sheriff's Department is investigating, but no traffic or transportation laws were violated.
ABC-13 spoke with three area stock yards.
They say the cow didn't come from them.
It's illegal to sell or take in immobile animals, and it's also illegal for slaughterhouses to take an animal who can't walk into their facility.
Since the cow was transferred privately, those laws weren't broken either.
Many people took to Facebook to express outrage and speculation over where the cow may have been going.
ABC 13 reached out to an Agriculture and Natural Resources agent and he told our crew that as far as he knows, hauling a cow strapped down on a flatbed trailer is not illegal.
Agent Todd Scott said he doesn't think transporting the cow in this manner is breaking the law, although it certainly is not a good way to do so.
I can't find anywhere this is breaking the law from my research. This is certainly not a good way to transport non-ambulatory cattle and I would hope that we don't see something like this again. An open top trailer with sides would be appropriate for this.
Scott cited these USDA guidelines on proper handling of livestock: