Buffalo not likely to roam in new enclosure at G&C
After five buffaloes escaped from G&C Packing May 9 - later shot to death by police on a West Colorado Avenue front lawn -
G&C owner Frank Grindinger pledged renovations to prevent such catastrophes occurring again in the future.
This week he lived up to that pledge.
He watched with satisfaction Sept. 13 as a tractor-trailer from Cheyenne, Wyo., backed up to the new, enclosed loading dock and unloaded about 50 buffaloes without mishap.
“I'm really pleased,” he said.
The $30,000 enclosure and unloading chute, welded of sturdy gas-line pipe, is the first of three phases of facility improvements for the business at 240 S. 21st St. Directly related to the May 9 incident is an upcoming improvement that will create an interlock mechanism between the truck-entry gate and the gate to the chute the buffaloes run down to get to the storage barn. The interlock idea, Grindinger explained, is to ensure that the chute gate won't open unless the truck-entry gate is shut - thus eliminating any scenario where animals could escape when trucks are unloading.
Until the interlock is built, a G&C employee will be present whenever a truck unloads to be sure the gate is shut, he said.
Grindinger blames a truck driver for not backing up properly to the dock May 9, which allowed the five buffaloes to slip through an opening behind the back of the truck and get away.
He said the incident cost him $4,000. He is seeking compensation, but the matter remains unresolved.
Other upcoming facility improvements will include a rebuilt storage barn and a catwalk network so that employees no longer need to get in amongst the animals, he said. The upgrade plans resulted from research, consultation with others in the packing and animal-handling business and from personal experience, he added.
A report from the Police Department and the City Manager's Office after May 9 did not blame G&C for the escape, but directed that the packing company “must follow through and revise their yard plan to preclude these types of events from happening in the future.”
G&C, a slaughterhouse and packing plant, has existed in that location on the Westside for about 100 years, with Grindinger owning it for the past 30. In a typical week, up to 400 animals are delivered to his facility.
Westside Pioneer article