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La Salle canal boat mule dies

At an estimated age of 45, Moe the mule died Monday. He pulled the 76-foot replica canal boat on the Illinois and Michigan Canal from Lock 16 in La Salle.
At an estimated age of 45, Moe the mule died Monday. He pulled the 76-foot replica canal boat on the Illinois and Michigan Canal from Lock 16 in La Salle.

One of the two mules that regularly towed a La Salle tour boat, has died.

The animal, named Moe, died Monday of disease at an estimated age of 45.

The mule took turns with a second mule pulling the boat on the Illinois and Michigan Canal from Lock 16 in La Salle, since the boat operation began in 2008, said Ana Koval, president of the Canal Corridor Association, which oversees the operation.

Koval noted the late mule worked until a few days before passing away and walked with Ottawa Mayor Bob Eschbach in a parade late this summer.

“We have a vet look at the mules several times a year, so we knew this was coming. They have it pretty easy,” Koval pointed out.

Koval said the mule was middle-aged when he was chosen 10 years ago, because a younger, friskier animal was not wanted around the public.

The mule’s surviving partner will not be paired with a new mule for the time being, to let him get used to Moe’s absence, but will continue towing the boat until the season ends, Sunday, Oct. 28.

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