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Cows in northeast Brainerd garage recovering, will be moved soon

Freckles the cow was near death when she was brought into a northeast Brainerd garage.

Pregnant and suffering from a severe case of pneumonia, the 1-year-old, 600-pound Holstein Angus cross needed shelter from the extreme cold sweeping over the area.

The cow’s owners, Lisa Nebel and her husband, usually keep their cattle on Nebel’s mom’s farm a few miles outside of Brainerd. But when Freckles fell ill, unable to walk, Nebel needed a place to give the cow 24-hour care.

So she brought Freckles to her house on the 900 block of Fourth Avenue Northeast about a week ago.

She and her husband nursed the young cow back to health, even building a hot box out of a mattress, two-by-fours, plywood, straw, blankets and two heat lamps.

It was in that garage that Freckles just gave birth to a healthy young calf named Dingaling.

The pair have lived in the garage since, only being let out in the yard once, Nebel said.

Neighbors were OK with the situation until one recently complained to the city, Nebel said.

Staff at Brainerd City Hall received a complaint Thursday that a resident was keeping a cow in a garage.

An official from Animal Control stopped by the house and gave the family until Thursday to move the two cows out or face fines, Nebel said.

Nebel says she’ll bring the pair back to the farm this weekend.

Nebel said she knew cows aren’t allowed within city limits, but “I didn’t want to let (Freckles) die.”

JESSICA LARSEN may be reached at or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at