Meteor the yak

Meteor, an escaped yak, was spotted outside the Nelson County Farm Bureau on Sept. 11. The yak spent his last days on the loose before he was struck Friday by a vehicle on U.S. 29.

A yak is on the loose in Nelson County.

A yak named Meteor on its way to the butcher from Buckingham escaped Tuesday. Nelson County Animal Control responded to a call around 10 a.m. Tuesday regarding livestock in the road near U.S. 29 in Lovingston. It was still on the lam as of Friday.

Animal Control Officer Kevin Wright said he started hearing the word “yak” being used and didn’t know why. In his mind, he was looking for a black angus cow or a typical livestock animal found in the area.

According to Wright, the yak had been in a trailer from Buckingham headed for the market when it decided it had other plans. The plans included making its way down Front Street in Lovingston and eventually wandering into the mountains to evade capture.

“I think this thing made a break for it and took off,” Wright said.

Nelson County resident Vanessa Miller Turner on Friday offered Meteor the yak sanctuary.

“If any yak can escape slaughter, it deserves to live in peace,” Miller Turner said.

Miller Turner said she has more than 10 acres of land in the Beech Grove area where she has cattle, goats, dogs, and cats. Miller Turner said many of the animals she owns are rescues so Meteor’s story resonated with her.

Meteor came to her attention Thursday after Richmond vegan Lindgren Johnson, an animal lover, reached out to her.

After reading about his escapades Johnson said she wanted to help.

“I just thought you do what you can to help so when I saw he escaped slaughter, I just wanted to help,” Johnson said, explaining why she tracked down Miller Turner.

Wright said animal control lost sight of it because it disappeared up into the mountains in the area. It wasn’t deemed a threat to the public. Wright said subsequent calls came in after the first sighting and with owner Robert Cissell, they have been trying to get the yak back since Tuesday.

Since Meteor’s escape made the news, Cissell said he’s received calls from various media outlets.

“I think a lot of people think it’s a grand adventure, but don’t think about the family with a small farm trying to make a living. At this point, it’s looking like he won’t go to the butcher but we do want to get him home safe,” Cissell said.

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Erin Conway covers Nelson County for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5524.

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