Cow-tastrophe: Niles students set cow loose during 'senior prank'

A cow was seen running down a residential sidewalk in Niles on Thursday after what has been described as a high school "senior prank" gone wrong.

"Since I was up late last night at work, I thought that I was dreaming and I was gonna wake up soon," said Kerrie Hirstius, who saw the cow behind her home.

Niles police responded to Northridge Preparatory School, located in the 8300 block of Ballard Road, just before 3 a.m. for "suspicious" activity.

Police say several students appeared to be planning a "senior prank" which involved bringing live animals to the school. Police say the kids bought a cow and pig on Craigslist and another student brought chickens.

A cow escaped from the students and ran loose into a neighborhood nearby. Residents shared footage of the loose animal running in front of houses.

Niles police and other law enforcement, along with a representative from Wagner Farms, have since secured the cow.


Guy Battista was retrieving something from his car early when he noticed something funny.

"I walk back towards the door and I see the look on my daughter’s face, it’s a weird look on her face," said Battista. "I look behind me and see this massive animal."

The cow was taken to Hooved Animal Humane Society where it will stay until it is adopted.

"She's alert. She’s obviously cautious and keeps her eye on you, but she is settling in and eating," said Cynthia Glensgard, the Executive Director of Hooved Animal Humane Society.

The students are not facing criminal charges, but were given ordinance violations including curfew, disorderly conduct, and animal feces accumulation.

Northridge Preparatory school released the following statement:

"This morning a prank went awry when a group of our seniors lost control of a cow they intended to put in a corral they built in front of the school. Unfortunately, the animal escaped, resulting in the cow roaming the community. The senior class is in the process of contacting the police department, city officials, and local residents to apologize for this incident. We can share on behalf of our seniors that they have secured a safe and appropriate home for the animal.

Northridge appreciates the work of Park Ridge, Morton Grove and Niles law enforcement and City officials in conjunction with Wagner Farms. We apologize to the local community for any inconvenience this event may have caused and will work internally to find resolution and  accountability."