Brad Choat (@choatsnews)

DITTMER, Mo. (KMOX) – Remember the so-called “St. Louis Six?” It’s the group of cows that broke free near the entrance to a St. Louis slaughterhouse back in March.

Ellie Laks with The Gentle Barn says Chico and his brother steers are now living the good life at their animal sanctuary in Dittmer.

“They don’t run from us anymore. They walk right by us. They lay down and let us sit among them. And, there’s even a few taking cookies out of our hands.”

Laks says Gentle Barn not only rescues animals, but it allows them to become part of therapy for humans.

“They help us heal people with the same stories of abuse and neglect. We work with agencies that treat people with PTSD, drug and alcohol rehab centers, probation camps, foster homes, inner-city schools, and special-needs facilities.”

The sanctuary is also home to rescued pigs, chickens and turkeys, including one turkey named after a famous football player. Laks says it was re-located from their Gentle Barn location in Tennessee.

“Peyton Manning was just so upset about being within earshot of his brother that he was angry all the time. Now, he’s the most-gentle, sweetest, kindest, most-wonderful guy. We adore having him. He’s much, much happier here.”

You can see Peyton and the St. Louis Six cows any Sunday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. This past Sunday was the facility’s grand opening. To find directions and pricing, visit the

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