Nellysford, VA - A small town in Nelson County is pleading for the safe return of their beloved 'Nelly May.'
The black and white, 1,350 pound fixture has been held for ransom since last Saturday.
The only clue -- a ransom note left by a group calling themselves the Bear Brigades. They say they'll hold onto Nelly May until bears are treated as equals. And the town just hopes their demands are met soon.
"Last Saturday morning on my way into work it was like, where's the cow?" Bill Chiricos exclaimed from his Nellysford pizza shop.
Dick Carroll, a realtor at the Wintergreen Real Estate Company says the 250 gallon fuel tank- turned- cow is hard to miss.
"Nelly has a wonderful disposition with a great, round robust belly, two of the most fantastic ears you would ever want to see, and the brownest, wettest nose you'd ever want to nuzzle up to," Carroll joked.
For years, Nelly May greeted drivers on Route 151. Now pictures and posters are pleading for her safe return.
"You go by and you look at the cow and the eyes follow you. It's really weird," Chirico explained.
On Monday, Tommy Stafford discovered a ransom note on the doorstep of Nelson County Life Magazine, where he works as a publisher. In it, the "Bear Brigade" demands a list of stipulations that the publisher suspects is poking fun at a policy enacted a few years ago. It got rid of bird feeders, put locks on dumpsters, and put up signs asking people not to feed the bears.
"Give us what we're asking for and only then will you see your precious Nelly May again," Stafford read from the note.
Life without Nelly May is just too hard to fathom, so the town won't give up until she's returned.
"Bring her home, we are concerned!" Carroll exclaimed.
Everyone is taking Nelly May's disappearance with a sense of humor. She belongs to the Nelson Farmers Cooperative and members are confident she'll be safely returned.
If you have any information on her whereabouts you're asked to call Tim Hess at 434-325-0545.