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CERT class and cows to school - Wow!

Published: 9/22/2011
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By Maddy Butcher Gray

Another full class of volunteers took in the Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (TLAER) awareness course at the annual County Emergency Response Team (CERT) jamboree earlier this month in Mount Vernon, Maine.
Since 9/11, training and funding for CERTs have increased dramatically. At the beautiful facilities of Camp Laurel, county volunteers gathered to take classes in a wide variety of topics from ropes to radio, pet sheltering to hazardous chemical handling. The classes, meals, and lodging, sponsored by the Maine Emergency Management Agency, were all free.

The TLAER course, taught by instructor Michelle Melaragno, gave students an understanding of a broad array of large animal crisis situations – from highway rollovers to stuck-in-mud or icy pond scenarios.
Based on course evaluations, the students found the instructor and course work exemplary. Many asked for more in-depth classes such as those previously reported here, taught by Drs. Tomas and Rebecca Gimenez. Click here and here for video.
Peppermint joined Melaragno’s horses, Magpie and Zephyr, for some horse handling and loose horse drills. It’s always fun to expose non-horse folk to the basics of handling:

-- Don’t scream.
-- Move slowly and deliberately.
-- Hay or treats come in handy.

They learned some Advanced Beginner stuff too, like how to make an emergency halter out of a rope line and how to corral loose horses.
Pictured at right:
Michelle Melaragno fits an emergency halter on her horse, Magpie.
The group used snow fencing to move the horses away from the ‘highway traffic’ and towards a ‘stock trailer’ in a containment drill.

Although the course was fun, the highlight for me was seeing this super dubious large animal transport on our way home. Photo at right.
We exited Interstate 95 just behind him and stared at the funky wooden ramp coming off the old Emergency Exit.
“What the heck is that ramp for? What the heck is in there?” we asked each other.

At the stoplight, we sidled up beside the rig. Lo and behold, them’s cows in thar!

Yup, there they were, looking out those student windows, chomping on hay. At the wheel sat an elderly, bespectacled Maine farmer.
Safe hauling? No way.
A frighteningly typical Maine transport solution? You bet.
For his sake, the old farmer wasn’t going to lose any sleep over his not-so-legal rig. His bed – frame and all – was planted between the driver’s seat and his heifers!

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9/22/2011 Kim Stone
ha,ha this is a great story! Love the cow transport... maybe we should implement out West :)

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