updated 5/16/2006 3:29:03 AM ET 2006-05-16T07:29:03

Residents of the Harrison County community of West Milford can breathe a little easier now that a stinky, rotting cow carcass has been removed.

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The bovine's body had been hung up on a dead tree at the West Milford Dam for several weeks while various government agencies debated whose responsibility it was to remove it.

It's not clear how the brown-and-white Hereford died, but the animal's body apparently drifted downstream from one of the farms that line the West Fork River.

The cow was finally hauled away Saturday through the combined efforts of the Division of Highways and the West Milford and Nutter Fort volunteer fire departments.

Firefighters had to use a boat and a rope to pull the carcass from the log and then tow it to the riverbank, said Scott Robinson, the Nutter Fort assistant fire chief. DOH officials then brought in heavy equipment to take the carcass away, he said.

Residents of West Milford had been seeking help for the problem for more than three weeks. Officials with the Division of Natural Resources, the departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection and the Clarksburg Water Board had all said the dead cow was not their responsibility.

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