A cow on the run for days in rural Minnesota caused a big stink in Stearns County before being reunited with its owner Thursday.

The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office was tipped off Tuesday morning that a cow was on the loose, roaming fields about 5 miles north of Brooten, a town of about 600 residents located an hour west of St. Cloud.

Deputies herded the cow into a pasture at a nearby farm to hold onto her during the investigation, but for two days, authorities couldn’t track down her owner. Authorities beefed up the search Thursday with a widespread public alert, asking farmers to check if they were missing any cows.

Authorities said a report had come in last week of a cow roaming Sauk Centre — 20 miles north of Brooten — and they figure the young black cow had been on the loose and trekking across the region for days, perhaps aware of its fate as a beef cow.

“It’s a little unusual,” said Lt. Robert Dickhaus, who oversees the patrol division, which gets animal complaints daily, but rarely about missing cows. “Usually people know they’re missing.”

By about 4 p.m. Thursday, after county alerts and media attention, the mystery ended when the Sauk Centre owner claimed the cow, saying that the cow had escaped about a week ago while being loaded on to a trailer.