BLUE SPRINGS, MO (KCTV) -- Three cows escaped from a meat processing business Wednesday afternoon, interfering with traffic and evading police officers for more than an hour.

The Blue Springs Police Department said the three animals had gotten loose from the Valley Oaks butcher shop, just a few blocks from city hall.

Valley Oaks later told KCTV5 that the animals had escaped while a rancher was unloading them from a trailer. One steer kicked a panel between the trailer and the corral behind the shop, allowing them to run away.

The three cows split up. One of them got down the street to the Blue Springs Freshman Center before running out onto the football field. Another trotted down Highway 7, toward I-70.

Police Chief Bob Muenz said both were acting aggressively and officers had no choice but to euthanize them.

"We thought we had it controlled and we were trying to get some resources in to tranquilize the animal, but it charged one of the officers," he explained. "One of the steers was getting close to I-70 and we couldn't allow that."

Officers herded the third animal, a heifer, back into the rancher's trailer. She was back at Valley Oaks by mid-afternoon Wednesday.

"It's an unfortunate circumstance," Muenz said. "And I feel bad for anyone who had to deal with it or see it, but sometimes we have to take measures to protect the community as a whole."

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