This is the amazing sight that confronted one visitor to Ballymena town centre on a busy Friday afternoon – and it turns out carrying a cow in the back of your car is perfectly legal, writes Linda Stewart.
Employment officer Carla Quinn was behind this Citroen family car after a trip to the bank last Friday when her fellow traveller spotted what appeared to be a very large dog in the back seat.
But when it lifted its head she spotted the yellow ear tags – and realised it was a cow.
"He said to me, 'you should see the size of the dog in that car – it's the size of a cow'," she said. "So we were talking about dogs and the size of dogs, such as Irish wolfhounds and St Bernards, and I asked what colour it was and he said black.
"I was looking at it and I could see something like a head and then the head came up and it looked like a panda. Then it lifted the head and all I could see was the two yellow tags on the ears and I said 'It's a cow!'
"We had to take a photo because nobody would have believed me if I'd gone home and said 'Guess what I've just seen – a cow in a car in the middle of town'."
Carla emailed the picture to a few friends and now it's creating a stir on Twitter.
"I showed it to my dad and he said it's a calf, but not a suckling calf. It's well over a year old," she said.
"If it had wanted to get out, it could have wrecked the car. I was just like 'Oh my God, only in Ballymena would you see it'.
"They were probably doing their bank or something and brought the cow with them. I put it up on Facebook and everyone was going 'Typical Ballymena – some farmer's bought that for the wife for Christmas and is trying to keep it secret.'"
Amazingly, a PSNI spokesman said it was "ill-advised but not illegal" to carry a calf in a car, saying it doesn't breach the offence of driving without due care and attention.