A number of heifers who managed to find their way into a bustling carpark in Naas, Co. Kildare, and one wrong turn away from a roundabout, are safely back in their paddock – thanks to the powers of social media and helpful shoppers.

The heifers, who had broken out of a nearby field, had to be corralled by shoppers for an hour after being spotted in the B&Q carpark in Naas Retail Park in the Kildare town – before their owner was found.

Speaking to Agriland about the incident, Siobhan English – one of the shoppers who had rounded up the animals – explained that she was coming out of a shop with her three-year-old son when she saw the cattle on the loose.

“There were a load of B&Q staff standing around them, right under the sign [for the retail park] where there’s a little grass patch.

The staff said they had rang the Gardaí so Siobhan rang the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and gave them the tag number of one heifer. However, she was told that, due to GDPR, they could not tell her the owner. Meanwhile, a further call was made to local Gardaí.

“There were two or three staff members from B&Q, myself and a couple of other shoppers; we managed to keep the heifers in that corner, right under the sign, so that they wouldn’t go into the middle of all the cars – if they did run riot they could do damage or knock somebody down.

“Eventually Robert my husband said why don’t you put it on the Irish Farming Discussion Group [Facebook page] and see if anyone recognises them,” Siobhan continued.

“Somebody saw the photograph and sent it to the owner – and the owner arrived an hour later.

“The owner came along and figured out where they’d come out of; they hadn’t travelled too far but they’d come from the main entrance near Lidl.

“They’d broken out through a ditch, the owner reckons the electric fence was stolen – the fence was gone.

“Luckily they had turned left instead of right – if they’d turned right they would have ended up straight on the main road into the roundabouts which would have been chaos.”

Fortunately the animals were very quiet and had been hand-fed by their owner, she said, adding:

“They were very tame in one way – but at the same time I didn’t want them running in the middle of all the cars because if there was damage done it would fall back on [the owner].”

Once the owner arrived, the task then emerged to get the animals back to their field.

With the help of additional shoppers who stopped their cars and got out to help, the group of shoppers and the farmer managed to corral the heifers back out onto the road and up through the ditch they had broken out of.

“Nobody got hurt and they’re all back where they’re supposed to be,” Siobhan concluded.