What to do when you Encounter Escaped Livestock Animals
If you have ever taken a drive in the country you may be aware of the occasional time when livestock (farm animals) get loose. Sometimes fences break, or gates get left open, and these animals find themselves on the road. What do you do?
- What is the Problem?
- What to Do....
- Other Thoughts and Experience
- Links you Might Enjoy if you Like Livestock
What is the Problem?
More often than whole herds being loose it is one or two animals, often calves or lambs, that got out under the low wire (they fall asleep next to a fence and wake up after rolling under it). Sometimes goats climb and get out that way. Of course fences do fall over (especially when trees fall on them), or gates are left open and the animals get out.
It might seem like good fun, animals having some freedom before going to slaughter (not all farm animals go to slaughter), but every year an unknown number of farm animals are hit and killed (or injured) on roads, some even cause deadly traffic accidents for people.
What to Do....
If you live in the area, chances are you will recognize who owns the animals and can call the owner, or will know who to call to report stray livestock in your area. I suggest phoning around to neighbors, or knocking on doors, before calling livestock control. I myself have animals and would rather have a neighbor call me to alert me that they are out, than have the authorities do it. Of course if you cannot find the owner, yes, call the authorities.
If you are on a drive where you do not know who owns the escaped livestock you can approach the nearest farm house. Honk your horn to let them know you are there. You can usually tell if somebody is home or not fairly quick. If nobody is home you can leave a note or drive to the next house. If you still have no luck then make note of where you are and call the police or stop at the next town and contact a veterinarian who may know who handles the stray animals in that area.
After you have passed a herd of loose animals flash your headlights to warn oncoming traffic to slow down.
Other Thoughts and Experience
Do not chase the animals yourself. One time I had a bunch of well meaning city folk chase about 30 cows up my driveway. I don't even own cattle. Then the people got confused and ran them down the other way, heading away from the actual place they should have been. They very easily could have caused an accident or got hurt themselves. Cattle might seem like easy going animals, but some can be mean and dangerous (particularly if they have calves).
One time, while coming back from a trip to the mountains, my wife and I came upon a mini herd of cattle that had made their escape shortly before dusk. This would put them at risk of being hit by an unsuspecting driver, being as cattle are big animals, an accident might even result in human fatalities. Luckily it was only on a quiet secondary highway.
One poor gal was holding up the rear, limping to keep up with the others. We went to the nearest farm house and alerted the person there, who left at once to check on the animals. Their chance at freedom had been squashed, but at least they would not be hit by an oncoming semi truck, or cause an accident that could potentially kill a family driving home from the mountains at night. Also the owner was able to recover his/her property as loosing them would have not been desired.