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Last Updated: Monday, 6 June, 2005, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
Town beefs up stray cattle battle
By Steve Rosenberg
BBC News, Moscow

Cows assembled in a line
Cows are causing traffic chaos in tiny Tashtagol
A small town in Russia overrun with cows roaming its streets has come up with an unusual method of battling its bovine problem.

In Tashtagol, a town of 23,000 people and few roads nearly 4,000km (2,500 miles) from Moscow, stray cows are being towed away to secure compounds.

Mugshots of the impounded cattle are then shown on local television.

Those owners who come forward are obliged to pay a fine before they get their animals back.

Task force

Local officials were forced to implement the bullish solution as cattle congestion caused traffic chaos in the town.

Cows roamed the pavements, munched the flowerbeds, blocked - and soiled - the highways.

The authorities hired a crack task force of cow wardens - its mission to patrol the town and keep the streets free from Fresians.

Any cows caught causing an obstruction are taken to a parking lot, where the meter starts ticking at the equivalent of about $2 (1.10) an hour.

Local herders have been served notice - they will be pursued by the authorities until their cows come home.

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