Blockhouse farm loses more cattle

Three injured animals euthanized following roof collapse

The three injured cattle that survived the barn-roof collapse last Sunday at a farm on Hamms Hill Road had to be put down on Wednesday morning.

“It was the most humane thing to do. They would have died on their own,” said Carman Rhodenizer, the property owner.

It was determined Sunday evening that an animal with spinal injuries actually had a broken back.

The other two animals were given 24 hours to recover, but it was determined one animal had internal injuries the owners were unaware of and the second had internal injuries as well as broken ribs.

“With an animal of that weight and size you don’t know, even with the vet there,” said Ms Rhodenizer.

“We feed our animals enough that you can’t see their ribs.”

A total of four animals were lost as a result of Sunday’s snow-related incident. One animal died immediately.

“These injuries were unpreventable and could not be helped. We couldn’t operate and fix them. We just couldn’t do it.”

The animals have been collected and buried. The family will hold a small funeral for them in the spring as two of the heifers that passed away belonged to Ms Rhodenizer’s 14-year-old daughter and her 13-year-old best friend.

“They’re not going out to any recycle places. Nothing is going to be fed to anything because the meat’s no good,” said Ms Rhodenizer.

The animals’ meat was inedible due to the extent of their injuries. To explain the extent of the loss, Ms Rhodenizer said the smallest show cow is about 600 pounds and the going rate for beef at market is $2.85 a pound.

“Could you name an animal and then eat it?” Ms Rhodenizer asked.

“It’s the animals that we’re heartbroken over. I hate to say it, but it’s not the money, the material; it’s the animals.”

Her insurance company said it will not cover anything.

The farm will have to immediately downsize, because the family no longer has accessible emergency shelter.

Some cattle will stay on the property in a small shelter and another barn. The family’s converting their birthing stall into an area for some of the younger, smaller cattle, and other animals will be brought to a friend’s farm where they will be cared for and have shelter.

Ms Rhodenizer’s not sure of the total loss.

“Honestly, I’m sort of scared to find out how much it would cost to rebuild,” she said.

“I’m really scared to find out.”

They will have to have an excavator in to take all the debris and dirt away and go through the area with metal detectors to make sure there are no nails, pieces of tin or anything that could harm an animal left in the area. They will then rebuild their retaining wall and bring fill in to level the land and flatten it so it can be used once more.

“It’s not a little job, that’s for sure,” said Ms Rhodenizer.

“I just hope that people have taken what’s happened to us and gone and made sure that their roofs are taken care of, because never would we have believed this would happen.”

As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

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