Cow 'owner' told to produce its death certificate in court

One of the cows at the center of a dispute at Baraka Patrol Base in Nakuru on August 28, 2020. Police had to turn to science to establish the legitimate owner . [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard]

A court in Nakuru has ordered a woman to produce the death certificate of one of two Friesian cows at the centre of a dispute between her and another woman.

Ruma, eight years and Lelgina, nine years, were subjected to a DNA test on August 28, 2020, after Gloria Kandie and Ann Cherotich claimed ownership. On Friday, Kandie, who has been in possession of the two cows, informed Senior Resident Magistrate Emmanuel Soita that Lelgina had died.

However, Soita took note that the cows’ DNA saga trended in both the mainstream media and social media, and their ownership became a public interest case.

He ruled that there was a need to prove that Lelgina died before the court could proceed with the case. He enquired if Kandie had reported the death of the cow to the police, noting the matter was sensitive, but she claimed she had not.

Soita ordered Kandie to produce the cow's certificate of death within the next three weeks as proof that it died. He adjourned the hearing of the case until the certificate is filed.

Kandie, Cherotich, a herder, Rongai Sub-County Veterinary Officer Peter Ngugi and the OCS had been lined up to testify.

The case filed by Kandie had been dismissed last year by Senior Principal Magistrate Charles Ndegwa but she revived it.

Kandie sued Cherotich in 2020 when she was ordered to surrender the cow on September 22, 2020, at Baraka Police Patrol Base in Ngata, Rongai sSub-County in Nakuru. This was after the DNA test results concluded Cherotich was the owner of the cows.

The DNA process involved checking the dentition, tail switch, and general body marks to determine their age.

Police failed to determine ownership physically and recorded the women’s account of how the cows were dehorned, skin patterns, and dentition and compared them with the veterinary report.

In the results, Ngugi said Cherotich’s description of the cows matched the DNA test results.

However, in her case, Kandie said she bought the cows from two people at a combined price of Sh215,000 and named them Ruma and Lelgina. She rubbished the DNA test result. The case will be mentioned on July 31.