SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - A cow that escaped last week from a Montana slaughterhouse, leading workers and police on a six-hour chase, will be spared following a wave of popular support, officials said on Tuesday.
Del Morris, manager of Mickey's Packing Plant in Great Falls, said he decided to let the cow live the instant he saw it cross the Missouri River through Great Falls.
Town residents will now decide through a telephone poll whether the cow will remain a resident of Montana, where it will live out its life on pastureland surrounding the packing plant, or be shipped to an animal sanctuary in Seattle.
Morris said the heifer he calls Molly and her escape effort attained celebrity status with television and news organizations requesting interviews and calls pouring in from across the country and overseas.
"I've been around cattle all my life and it's just totally amazing," Morris said, adding that it is a rare cow that escapes slaughter. "I watched her do things that are just not possible for a cow."