Locals give cattle a place to rest | SummitDaily.com
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Locals give cattle a place to rest

SUMMIT COUNTY – Trucker Rachel Nielson couldn’t sleep. The 65 cattle in the trailer behind her wouldn’t let her.

By early afternoon Wednesday, the restless animals had been penned in the trailer for almost two full days and were rocking the entire truck with the force of their movements.

What should have been a 10-hour trip from Centerfield, Utah, to Fort Morgan had stretched into 40 – too long for the cattle, Nielson decided.



“I don’t like to have them on more than 15 hours,” she said.

Nielson’s call brought her more help than she ever anticipated.



Trucker Brandon Homyak, himself a former cattle trucker, heard Nielson’s call and made a phone call to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

“I figure help others because someday you might need it,” he said.

Homyak’s call set a domino effect in motion.

Firefighters, animal control workers, Silverthorne and Colorado Department of Transportation plow drivers and county employees showed up to get the cattle off the truck and to find them hay and water.

County and animal shelter employees found the cattle a temporary way station in paddocks at the Summit County Fairgrounds.

Some of the cattle were delirious from dehydration, Nielson said – so much so that one of them initially refused to leave the trailer. But eventually, all 65 – led by a blind heifer – walked off the truck and into snow that came up to their chests.

Rancher Lynn Bauer and Summit County Animal Shelter director Nancy Ring, who owns horses, donated hay. Lake Dillon firefighters filled troughs with water from a fire truck. Animal shelter employees broke bales of hay and tossed them over the fence to the hungry animals.

Little more than an hour after the cattle got off the truck, Summit County Building and Grounds employee Tibor Horvath said they were looking good.

“It was kind of questionable at one point if the whole herd would survive,” he said. “It turned out to be a good day. It’s great to have the community come out and help somebody in need.”

Nielson was humbled.

“I just can’t believe how much everybody is pitching in and helping,” she said. “It’s amazing.”

– Jane Reuter


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