Two steers taken to Morris Frozen Food Locker for processing escaped to the streets of Washington C.H. on Monday morning, and after police officers attempted to corral them for over an hour the decision was made to “put them down” in the interest of public safety.
Police received a call at 9:09 a.m. that a local farmer was dropping off the two steers to Morris Frozen Food Locker — a meat processing, slaughtering and butchering services plant on Rose Avenue in Washington C.H. — when they were somehow able to get loose.
The steers were spotted multiple times throughout Washington C.H., including on the lawn in front the courthouse.
“We had about six or seven officers spend a considerable amount of time trying to corral them,” said Washington Police Chief Jeff Funari. “Four of our cruisers sustained damage and a couple of residential fences were damaged by the cows. Thankfully, there were no injuries to any civilians and no officers were injured.”
One of the steers went out on Court Street and onto Leesburg Avenue before eventually being found at the golf course, where it was shot and killed. The other went south and eastbound on Temple Street before it was shot and killed in the 300 block of Lewis Street.
Funari said the decision to shoot the animals was not made until all other possibilities were exhausted — such as finding someone who is trained to utilize a tranquilizer.
“There was no one available within a reasonable amount of time who was trained to do something like that,” said Funari. “We made a number of calls, including contacting Brad Adams (chief humane agent with Fayette Regional Humane Society), but were unsuccessful. It became a public safety concern. I certainly didn’t want these animals running into traffic and causing an accident or trampling someone’s pets.”
Street department personnel removed the carcasses with a front-end loader.
“We did everything we could to try to get them under control,” said Lt. Derek Pfeifer, who was one of the officers on the scene attempting to corral the steers. “The last thing you want to do is discharge a weapon out in the public. However, these animals were dangerous and for the preservation of life and property, the decision was made to put them down. Once we were able to get in close range for a shot with no danger of injuring civilians, we went ahead and did it.”
Reach Record-Herald Editor Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352.