Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union
JANES ROAD – A 32-cow break-in at Mad River Community Hospital’s on-site organic farm has resulted in the loss of $7,000 in vegetables.
The bovine burglary evidently began in the wee hours of the night of Oct. 10. Farmers arriving in the morning found the hungry herd roaming the fields, trampling crops, noshing on unharvested produce and pooping indiscriminately.
Staff members then set about rounding up the cows and moved them away from the hospital and held them until the owner arrived, according to MRCH Chief Operating Officer Steve Engle.
The cows originated from a field located a half-mile away. They or an offshoot faction apparently hoofed it along Upper Bay Road en route to the unfenced farm, as a resident on that street reported a cow looking in her bedroom window before it mooved along.
The copious cow manure rendered the crop area unusable for planting for 120 days, Engle said. A claim has been filed with the cow owner’s insurance company.
Engle said the livestock incursion was a first for the farm, which provides 80 percent of the fresh vegetables consumed by staff and patients. Until now, only foxes and deer had been spotted at the farm.