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Creature Feature: Horses Bound for Slaughter: Their Rescue and Recovery

As Longmeadow Rescue Ranch employees and volunteers continue to work with horses injured in a highway accident last fall, Director Earlene Cole recalls details of the rescue operation and advises others facing such crises

As Longmeadow Rescue Ranch employees and volunteers continue to work with horses injured in a highway accident last fall, Director Earlene Cole recalls details of the rescue operation and advises others facing such crises

Surviving horse Mama and her colt—who was christened Twist of Fate after more than 5,300 participants voted in an online contest to name him—enjoy their green fields after the rescue. (Humane Society of Missouri)
As director of the Humane Society of Missouri’s Longmeadow Rescue Ranch, Earlene Cole is used to waking up in the middle of the night to handle animal crises. But last September 28, she had no idea that the 3:15 a.m. call from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department dispatcher would land her at the scene of the worst accident she’d seen in her 20-year career.

A slaughterhouse-bound tractor trailer hauling 41 horses and one hinny (the offspring of a stallion and a female donkey) had overturned on Interstate Highway 44 about 20 minutes from St. Louis.

“I had worked a couple of cattle truck accidents in St. Louis about 10 years ago,” Cole says. “We had developed a plan under these same circumstances, so that helped me think ahead about what we needed while I was getting dressed.”

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