Church's nativity donkeys wander off

Dec. 25, 2009 at 12:35 PM

AVON, Colo., Dec. 25 (UPI) -- A Colorado church said its annual live nativity scene was nearly ruined when a pair of donkeys, apparently startled by a snow plow, made a run for freedom.

Pastor Rob Wilson of the Eagle River Presbyterian Church in Avon said church members believe the donkeys, which were borrowed from a local owner, were spooked by snow plows early Wednesday morning and pushed their way out of their fenced-in pen, the Vail (Colo.) Daily reported Friday.

Chip Howard, the church member who borrowed the donkeys, was the first to arrive and find the animals missing. Howard followed the tracks in the snow on foot while an Eagle County sheriff's deputy searched for the animals with his patrol car.

Howard was joined by Wilson and they caught up with the donkeys in nearby Eagle-Vail.

"They went up the railroad tracks -- they were just having a good day," Wilson said.

The men said they returned the donkeys to the church safely.

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