The detail in the decal was so small that the Vermont state trooper cleaning his patrol car had to get face to face with it to confirm that what he saw was really what he thought he saw.
The trooper, not identified by police, noticed that the one of the spots on the cow depicted on the state seal was oddly shaped.
Then it hit him: He was looking at a pig.
So he immediately reported it.
As police began looking into the matter, they learned that about 30 other police cruisers had the porcine-shaped spot on their decals too.
So how did the pig -- often used as a derogatory term for police -- get there in the first place?
As it turns out, the emblems are printed by prison inmates with the corrections department's print shop, which also makes the state's stationary and license plates.
Inmates working there seem to have pulled a prank that Vermont police are not finding very funny.
"We understand that a lot of people will find humor in this," said Stephanie Dasaro, a Vermont State Police spokeswoman. "But the joke does come at the expense of the taxpayers."
Police are still trying to figure out how many cruisers carry the modified decal. Dasaro said it would cost about $800 to replace them.
Dasaro said she found the prank "disrespectful," emphasizing that the prank is insulting to officers who serve the Green Mountain State.
-- Ricardo Lopez
Photo: The state seal is seen on the side of a Vermont State Police cruiser. One of the spots on the cow in the state crest has been changed to the shape of a pig. Credit: Tony Talbot/Associated Press