POCATELLO — The owners of a meat processing business where cows have escaped on two occasions during the past week said they have received hate mail from a number of animal rights groups following the media’s coverage of the incidents.
Cows fled from Anderson Custom Pack at Garrett Way and North Main Street on Friday and Sunday. One of the escaped cows was shot and killed by Pocatello police, another was fatally shot by business co-owner Jesse Anderson, one of the cows was recaptured and, as of Tuesday night, two were still on the loose in Pocatello.
The hate mail from the animal rights groups has come on the heels of coverage of the cow escapes by newspapers and TV stations as far away as the United Kingdom.
Pocatello animal control officers are investigating the escapes and no citations have yet been issued.
Animal control officials said Tuesday that they have received no reports of cow sightings regarding the two bovines still on the loose in Pocatello.
Anderson’s owners have told the Journal the cow that fled Friday and was fatally shot by police did in fact escape from the business by jumping over a 6 foot fence. But Anderson’s owners claim the four cows that were reported missing on Sunday were intentionally released from the corral by someone trespassing on their property.
While Anderson Custom Pack has never been cited for animals running at large, Pocatello animal control officers have cited the meat processing business for other reasons.
Animal control officers were at the business over Memorial Day weekend this past May after noticing a dog tied to a cattle trailer there. According to animal control, the dog was on a 20-foot chain and could get inside the trailer for shelter and there was a five-gallon bucket of fresh water left for the dog. The business was closed at the time.
While making sure the dog was OK, animal control officers said they noticed other problems at Anderson Custom Pack that warranted further investigation.
Animal control officers said they discovered a large amount of rotting bread, garbage and debris inside the cattle trailer.
The officers also observed 13 small goats being held in a 13-square-foot pen and a smaller pen containing four goats that were estimated to be about 1 month old.
Three adult pigs were also found penned at the business.
The Pocatello animal control report on the May incident describes conditions in the animal pens as unsanitary and the officers noted decaying animal parts, hides and carcasses at the business.
Animal control officers cited Jesse Anderson for not properly caring for animals, failing to properly remove dead animals and violating the city’s sanitation code.
Pocatello Animal Control Director Mary Remer called a veterinarian to the scene in May to examine the young goats. The veterinarian said the goats needed to be fed milk, but Jesse Anderson said the goats were weaned and were being fed grass and bread.
The veterinarian determined that the rest of the animals were not in imminent danger though conditions were poor, reported Pocatello animal control.
Remer said similar problems were found at Anderson Custom Pack in 2013.
In a visit following the May incident, Remer noted the cattle trailer, goats and scattered animal remains had been removed from the meat processing business.
Jesse Anderson pleaded guilty to the citations from the May incident in September, but the animal control report does not mention anything about punishment or fines. The report does say Anderson Custom Pack was informed it could only hold animals at the business that were set to be slaughtered that same day.
Julie Anderson, who owns the business with husband Jesse, said they left the dog at the business over Memorial Day weekend because he is a “barker” and they feared he would interfere with Memorial Day events at the cemetery adjacent to their McCammon home.
Anderson Custom Pack is inspected quarterly and the business meets all state and federal requirements, its owners said. During its peak season, from August to April, the business employs 10 workers.