Steer’s run from slaughterhouse ends in gunfire in Manassas yard

Andy Wilfong said hes “just a small guy trying to get something going.” So when a 1400-pound steer escaped from his slaughterhouse and meat processing plant at 9604 Cloverhill Road in Manassas, he thought his dreams of a farm in the country might be crashing around him.

The steer knocked Wilfong down and escaped as Wilfong transferred the animal from a truck to a holding pen at the slaughterhouse, said Manassas Police spokesman, Sgt. Marc Woolverton.

After the steer escaped, it ran across Cloverhill Road toward Amberleigh Court, where it crashed through a wooden fence in the residential area, Woolverton said.

Officer Susan Caskey and Sgt. James Brown, Manassas City Animal Control, shot the steer with a shotgun in the back yard of an Amberleigh house before the animal could hurt anyone or cause further property damage, Woolverton said.

No criminal charges were filed as a result of the mishap, Woolverton said.

Wilfong said he is trying to be a good neighbor to the people who had property damaged during the steers escape.

“Im just trying to take care of the people,” Wilfong said, “Ive got some fences to fix this weekend.”

Although Wilfong, 42, grew up in Woodbridge, he spent a lot of childhood time on his grandparents farm in West Virginia and has been trying for several years to establish a farm in Fauquier County.

Wilfong leased the slaughterhouse, where he processes venison for hunters and makes jerky and sausage.

He started his meat processing company, called A.T.D. or Andys True Dream, in his kitchen, but had to move when the operation got too big.

“Last year, I processed over 200 deer out of my kitchen and my wife finally said, Get out. Those deer have got to go,” he said.

Wilfong will not be slaughtering any live animals until he makes some design changes to the building to make sure the same kind of incident doesnt happen again.

He said he was slaughtering the steer to help out a friend from Culpeper and make a little money.

“You could do it maybe a thousand times and this might never happen again, but Im going to change some things,” Wilfong said, “I try real hard to stay out of trouble.”

Wilfong said he hopes to have a plant in Fauquier soon, since he has one son who is about to graduate from Virginia Tech and another graduating from Hylton High School.

“Im trying to get this going for them. Its something they like to do,” Wilfong said.

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