PAKENHAM — Eighty-seven beef cattle boarded a transport truck here but never made it to market as planned March 15. A little more than two kilometres into the trip, the vehicle rolled onto its side when the driver reportedly swerved to avoid “a deer crossing in front of him with coyotes chasing it,” says Rayburn Evans, owner of the livestock yard where the shipment originated.
Reflecting on the ensuing “mess,” Evans exclaimed, “I think maybe he should have kept the truck on the road and hit the deer — and the coyotes, too!”
A collection of Charolais and Black Angus animals owned by six local sellers, the cattle were headed for the Kawartha Lakes Community Sale Barn — with whom Evans works — before careening off 12th Concession Rd. at 12:55 p.m.
Lanark County OPP say the 59-year-old driver has been charged with a Highway Traffic Act offence.
The first such calamity to strike his operation in 50 years, Evans says it could have been much worse as only three animals perished inside the confines of the flopped-over trailer. A fourth suffered a broken leg and had to be destroyed.
He credits the Mississippi Mills fire department for helping to cut the top off the trailer, while his nephew used a tractor and frontend loader to peel the roof away, freeing the cattle before more died. Evans personally revived several animals lying stunned on top of each other after the trailer was opened up. He was “wrestling around” with the bovine bodies to get them back onto their feet, he says.
Once free, the cattle began to scatter, but neighbours, friends and the OPP corralled them into a nearby field over a four-hour period. The final escaped animal was fetched by a man on horseback at 8:30 p.m.