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Summer of freedom ends for Meadowbrook's meandering cows
The two steers that have stopped traffic and started lots of local speculation this summer are gone now.
Since May, the animals have been making the rounds of the Snoqualmie area, from Meadowbrook Farm to Indian Hill. The cows, owned by Herman Schlaht of Snoqualmie and his son, Terry, of Burlington, had broken out of their pen on Indian Hill last spring.
They set up housekeeping for some time with the Meadowbrook elk herd, and evaded multiple attempts to trap them throughout the area, to the amusement of many locals who began wondering if we’d someday see a hybrid Angus-elk calf on the Meadowbrook Farm.
Their days in the wild ended, though on Aug. 20, when Mike Akers and husband, Jason Weatherholtz, caught the pair in their pasture.
“It was just dumb luck,” Akers said by phone.
Neither of them were cattlemen, he explained, and their horses were not on the property, so the pasture stood open. After a day or two of the steer passing back and forth, with phone calls from neighbors alerting them they were in the area, the two decided to lock up their dogs and try to catch them.
“It was very stealth, we were both on our cell phones,” Akers said. They went opposite ways around the house, and just waited until the animals entered the pasture, where the grass was nice and green.
“I closed the gate behind them and that’s how we caught them. It was actually very simple,” Akers said. “What happened after that was not very simple.”
Schlaht had been next door when the capture occurred, and he came over right away, then called his son. Terry came the next day, with a trailer, tranquilizers, and what turned out to be vain hopes of trapping the steer and driving them off in the trailer.
“They could not capture the cows,” Akers said. “…even tranquilized they were not able to capture them and get them into the trailer.”
Instead, the Schlahts asked permission to bring a slaughter truck to the pasture, and butcher the cows on-site.
“I didn’t plan for it to end this way,” said Akers, but he did want to respect the owner’s wishes. After just a few days with the cows on his property, he noted how destructive they were here and at Meadowbrook Farm, and says of the owners, “I think they were trying to be responsible.”
Their adventure has given them a new perspective on food, Akers says, plus a nice reminder about life in a small town, and a new reputation as the neighborhood’s ranch hand.
“All our neighbors think it’s quite funny,” he said, “and Wendy down at Carmichaels, she knew about it before some of my closest friends!”