Cow on lam from slaughterhouse off the hook
Molly the cow makes a dash onto 8th Avenue
South in Great Falls, Mont., while running from
law enforcement officers on Thursday.
MSNBC News Services
Updated: 5:30 p.m. ET Jan. 11, 2006
GREAT FALLS, Mont. - A cow that escaped last week from a Montana slaughterhouse, leading workers and police on a six-hour chase, will be spared following a wave of popular support, officials said Tuesday.
Del Morris, manager of Mickey’s Packing Plant in Great Falls, said he decided to let the cow live the instant he saw it cross the Missouri River through Great Falls.
Town residents will now decide through a telephone poll whether the cow will remain a resident of Montana, where it will live out its life on pastureland surrounding the packing plant, or be shipped to an animal sanctuary in Seattle.
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Morris said the heifer he calls Molly and her escape effort attained celebrity status with television and news organizations requesting interviews and calls pouring in from across the country and overseas.
“I’ve been around cattle all my life, and it’s just totally amazing,” Morris said, adding that it is a rare cow that escapes slaughter. “I watched her do things that are just not possible for a cow.”
Molly dodged vehicles, ran in front of a train, braved the icy Missouri River and took three tranquilizer darts before being recaptured.
The black, 1,200-pound heifer jumped a gate at the packing plant at around 5 a.m. Thursday, authorities said.
The cow apparently wandered through residential areas for a time before police received reports at about 9:30 a.m. that it was in the middle of a busy intersection.
Police tried to catch the cow, and had her wedged between a stock trailer and a fence, but the heifer barreled through the fence toward the river, nearly being hit by an SUV.
With the police in pursuit, the cow ran toward the railroad tracks and darted in front of an oncoming locomotive. Crossing another road, the cow was nearly struck by a semi tractor-trailer.
"By then it was a madhouse," said police officer Corey Reeves. "People were coming out of the woodwork to see."
Humane Society Officer Amy Lowe chases Molly
Robin Loznak / Great Falls Tribune
Officer Amy Lowe of the Humane Society of Cascade County chases Molly Thursday in Great Falls, Mont.
When police, animal control officers and slaughterhouse workers surrounded the cow in a park near the Missouri River, the cow jumped into the icy water. As she swam to the west bank of the river, Reeves said she sank lower in the water and was being swept downstream.
But the cow found a sandbar near the river's west bank and walked to shore.
Authorities tried unsuccessfully to shoot the cow with a tranquilizer gun three times.
Finally, slaughterhouse workers created a makeshift pen with metal panels that led to a stock trailer. The cow walked into the trailer at 11:45 a.m., authorities said.
The cow was taken back to the slaughterhouse, where it was put in a pen — with a stronger fence.
I don't mind her bucking the system but this better not impede the flow of tasty meat products to my freezer.
First thing I learned about cattle is you don't chase them. You move very slowly. If you chase them, they will run right by you. Also keep distance. That officer running after 1200 pound heiffer is endangering herslef.
A times like these we need Chuck Norris on a wild mustang. Chuck can lasso, ya know.
These things happen!
A few years back, a JB Hunt truck side swiped a bull wagon on the northen edge of Birmingham. Knocked the bull wagon over and the cattle escaped. Cops shut the interstate down and were trying to herd them with cruisers and motorcycles. They finally had to shoot several. Where the cops had set up the detour (things moving very slowly) I hollered out the window at one of the officers "Steak at the policemans ball this year"!! He cracked up over that. I turned on the tv news and watched it for a while and it was hilarious watching them trying to herd them on cop cycles with the lights flashing...