Saturday, August 16, 2003

Cinci's still one feisty cow


Fellow escapee is her pal at New York farm sanctuary

By William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Cinci Freedom (left), the runaway cow who amused Cincinnati in 2002, with friend Queenie, who escaped a slaughterhouse in Queens, N.Y.
(Robert Miller photo)
| ZOOM |
Cincinnati's famous fugitive cow is alive and well - and best friends with a fellow slaughterhouse escapee.

Cinci Freedom, a Charolais cow, has been at the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, N.Y. since April 2002, thanks to her benefactor, renowned artist Peter Max.

"She's out in the pasture with the rest of the cattle eating away," Emily Miller, a 24-year-old former Cincinnati resident who works at the sanctuary, said recently from Watkins Glen. "She has lots of friends. One of her best friends is Queenie. They're always hanging out together."

The friendship may have bloomed because of similar experiences.

"She (Queenie) escaped from a slaughterhouse in (Queens) New York," said Miller, who is employed as a shelter caregiver. Her duties include taking care of all animals at the sanctuary that are on medication. "They became instant friends. You can see them grooming each other."

Cinci Freedom became a media darling after she jumped a gate at a Camp Washington slaughterhouse in February 2002, and eluded police and animal welfare workers for 12 days before being captured in Mount Storm Park in Clifton.

Estimated to be about 8 years old, Cinci Freedom, is still as feisty as ever, Miller said. Not long ago, the celebrity cow was placed in a corral to await treatment of her hoofs. But the cow decided not to stick around. She jumped the fence and returned to the pasture to join Queenie.

Overall, the change of scenery seems to have had a calming effect on Cinci Freedom (who was too fidgety to ride in the Cincinnati Reds Findlay Market Opening Day Parade), Miller said.

"She's relaxing, but still gets quite nervous when she's around strangers.''

Cinci Freedom is healthy and has gained weight since she arrived at the sanctuary, Miller said. The extra weight hasn't prevented her from jumping fences, Miller said, but now she usually knocks down the top rail when she jumps.

"She's really muscular and athletic," Miller said. "Her body type is unusual for the cows we have here."

Miller, a graduate of Cincinnati Country Day High School and the University of Colorado, where she received an environmental studies degree in December 2002, was away at college when Cinci Freedom jumped into the news headlines. But her parents, Robert and Deborah Miller of Miami Township in Clermont County, kept her updated on the story.

When she accepted the job at the sanctuary, Miller was pleasantly surprised to find out Cinci Freedom was there.

Meanwhile, Cinci Freedom remains in good hands in her retirement.

"I just love working with animals," Miller said. "We always had pets - dogs, cats, rabbits and horses."

E-mail bweathers@enquirer.com




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