PICO RIVERA (CBSLA) — About 40 cows escaped from a meatpacking plant in Pico Rivera Tuesday night and ran wild through the city’s streets for more than an hour, injuring a family in the process.
The incident began at around 7:30 p.m. when the cows escaped through a gate that had accidentally been left open at Manning Beef in the 9500 block of Beverly Road, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The herd galloped towards Beverly Road and Durfee Avenue and eventually ran into a residential neighborhood about a mile from the slaughterhouse. Authorities warned people to stay away from the area. Video posted to social media showed the large group of cows running down Beverly Road and into Marisela Alvarez’s yard.
“It was just like a stampede,” Alvarez said. “Boom!”
The cows left hoof prints, a busted fence and droppings in Alvarez’s yard. She said she went to the slaughterhouse to confront the owners about fixing her fence and was shooed away.
“It was careless what they did,” she said. “It was so careless. It could happen again. It’s not the cows’ fault, you can’t blame the cows for it.”
At one point, about 20 to 30 settled into a cul-de-sac on Calico Avenue, surrounded by sheriff’s deputies. The deputies attempted to round up the livestock, but were unsuccessful, and the cattle scattered throughout the neighborhood.
“I was so freaked out, so I went and hugged my mom,” 5-year-old Matteo, who lives in that cul-de-sac said. “I think they ran over here to eat grass.”
Other residents said the cows appeared to be injured and were bleeding. Margarita Rios, who also lives in the cul-de-sac said she believes the cattle got injured while knocking over mailboxes, trampling fences and bumping into cars while being chased down the neighborhood streets.
“If you think about it, it is kind of sad,” she said.
One cow was shot and killed by deputies after it charged at a family of four, knocking some of them to the ground, the sheriff’s department said. The family was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
Some experienced ranchers who heard what had happened brought their lassos and came to help corral the livestock. It took several hours to round up the cattle and load them into trailers. The LASD Mounted Enforcement Detail was also called in.
“I tried holding it down a bit, and it was too heavy, so it dragged me a couple hundred feet,” rancher John Pitones told CBSLA of his experience trying to wrangle one of the escaped cows. “Once they start running, they get scared, they get anxious and they just don’t want to stop running. So you’ve got to give them the time and the proper procedures for how to capture them.”
By early Wednesday morning, 38 of the cows had been returned to the slaughterhouse. One was still missing.
The Manning Beef Company said it was investigating the incident. Neighbors said they hope the company will help pay for the damage caused.