One of 40 cows who escaped from a slaughterhouse in Pico Rivera was still unaccounted for Wednesday, after sheriff’s deputies helped recapture 38 and killed another who charged at a family of four, sending some of them to a hospital with minor injuries.

At about 7:36 p.m. Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Pico Rivera station received a call of cows running loose on the city streets, the department said.

An open gate had allowed the cows to flee the Manning Beef slaughterhouse in the 9500 block of Beverly Road. The cows were on the loose for hours, roaming through residential neighborhoods and evading capture.

One of the cows charged a family of four, knocking some of them to the ground, the sheriff’s department said. The family members were taken to a local hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries.

“To protect the family from further injury, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed the animal,” the department said.

No further injuries were reported.

The Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department’s Mounted Enforcement Detail was called in to assist with the roundup.

A leading animal rights group on Wednesday expressed sorrow at the development.

“PETA wishes the cows who escaped from a slaughterhouse into a Pico Rivera, California, neighborhood on Tuesday had made it to freedom, something they fought hard to gain, instead of being rounded up and returned to the slaughterhouse or — in one cow’s case — being shot on the scene by law enforcement,” a PETA statement said.

“These cows’ desperate bid for freedom should have been recognized by moving them to a sanctuary, where they could have bonded with other rescued cows, nursed their calves in peace, and lived out their lives just as you and I hope to do,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said. “PETA invites anyone who cheered their escape or mourned their deaths to extend that compassion to all cows — and all other animals — by going vegan.”

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