Missing cow returned

The missing cow is back.

It appears that the “rustlers” returned the creature to its spot at 7535 Girard Ave., outside the Atelier Aucoin Salon, sometime before businesses opened on May 27, according to the organizers of CowParade La Jolla.

Michael Kinsman, the exhibit’s operations director, wrote in an e-mail, “We had heard rumblings that someone had taken it for a school prank and then panicked when they realized it was a felony. We figured they didn’t know what to do with it - it’s not an easy object to hide--so they decided to return it.”

The cow, part of a public art project comprised of nearly 40 cows designed and painted by local artists, had several scrapes and bruises and “was very dirty--a sure sign it was left outside--but no damage of significance” Kinsman added.

Sean Brannan, the CowParade’s artistic coordinator who also painted a couple of the cows, was called on to clean up the cow and bolt it back on its stand.

Known as the “Werc Cow,” designed and painted by San Diego artist Werc Alvarez, the life-sized, fiberglass cow was stolen sometime between April 25 and 26 from its “pasture.”

Alvarez, a spray paint artist who painted the cow, told Kinsman after it was recovered: “I’m really happy it is back. The whole time I wondered “Why my cow?”

Two weeks ago, John Nowell, a University City resident, had been in the Village with his 8-year-old daughter, Emily, taking pictures of all the cows and walked by the spot where the missing bovine had been.

“We were on our way up the street when we noticed that the iCow had been wheeled inside a store,” he wrote in an e-mail on May 28. “We vowed to return when they opened on or after Tuesday of this week.”

They returned on May 27 and just happened to be driving by.

“Wanting to take one more look at the site of the missing cow, we noticed the spot was not empty,” he wrote. “To our surprise, it was the missing “Werc Cow.”

Now that it’s back, the cow will be around until the exhibit ends on June 15. Then, on July 11, it and the others will be auctioned to raise money for Rady Children’s Hospital and the Zoological Society.

“The bottom line for us is that the cow was returned ...That is going to mean several thousand dollars for our beneficiaries,” Kinsman wrote. “We’re delighted it was returned safely.”