PLYMOUTH, Conn. (WTNH) — Plymouth Police and ENCONN police are both looking for a loose steer they have named ‘Buddy the Beefalo’ in the area of Route 72 and Judd Road in the Terryville section of Plymouth.
The animal weighs between 900 and 1,300 lbs and can be highly aggressive. The animal has been determined to be a ‘beefalo’ — a cross between a bison and domestic cattle.
Police learned the animal came from a farm in Massachusetts and escaped a nearby animal processing facility about two weeks ago.
The Hartford Courant reports the escape occurred Aug. 3. as the animal “was being taken off a trailer at Plymouth Meats. Since then, some people have been rallying to save the animal on community Facebook pages, while others have pondered the number of prime steaks it would produce.”
There were several recent sightings, one of them was late Wednesday evening, Sept. 2 on Route 72. Police responded to that area and found the bull. As police approached the bull, it started to behave as if it was ready to charge by putting its head down and scratching the ground. Officers moved away and the bull retreated into the woods.
Police believe there is a public safety precaution, so people are asked to travel in the area with caution. Police say they are worried if ‘Buddy the Beefalo’ wanders onto the highway, a car hitting him would be a big problem.
The Hartford Courant reported Monday, Aug. 31, police have launched a drone to aid their search.
Police say they will keep trying to push him out of the brush and back to a nearby trailer for pickup.
Capt. Edward Benecchi of the Plymouth Police Department told News 8 Sept. 2, “It’s almost like they are a deer. So that’s the last thing we need to do is push this animal in the wrong direction so tactically trying to sneak up on a thousand-pound beefalo in a heavily-wooded area is proving quite challenging.”
According to the Courant, the owner of the beefalo now says they do not plan to slaughter the animal.
Sept. 2 around 7 p.m. Plymouth PD posted on Facebook to address a rumor that the animal had been caught and killed. They said that was not true. However, the beefalo had been spotted within minutes of the post going live on Facebook.
“There has been a rumor circulating on the internet that the beefalo was spotted and killed. However, the Beefalo was spotted as recently as 5 minutes ago in the area of Route 72 and Judd Road. If you see the animal, please call in any sightings immediately at (860) 589-7779.”
On Labor Day, Sept. 7, the Plymouth Police Union reported they have reached their $6,000 fundraising goal for Buddy’s ‘bail’ on their GoFundMe page.
The union established the page to raise money to buy the bull from his owner, and “once captured, Buddy will then be turned over to an animal sanctuary where he can live out the rest of his life without worry.”
This comes after local residents and many following the story expressed worries about the bull’s welfare and future.
The union said any money collected past $6,000 will be spread to various animal sanctuaries in Buddy’s honor.
According to Plymouth PD, Buddy was seen by several residents Sunday, Sept. 6.
Tuesday, Sept. 8, Plymouth PD reported they raised a total of just over $7,000 through their GoFundMe page.
“This money will be used to purchase Buddy and then the remainder will be donated to the animal sanctuary that takes him,” they said.
Wednesday, Sept. 9 the police department announced Critter Creek Farm Sanctuary from Gainesville Florida will be taking Buddy the Beefalo.
They said a lot of research went into the decision.
This week, Plymouth PD set up a trailer in the area of recent sightings of the bull. They plan to use the trailer to catch him and safely transport him to the sanctuary.
Wednesday, Sept. 9, police posted a photo of Buddy eating grain at the trailer saying, “He has found the grain we have been leaving for him. As you can see in the picture he is really close to the trailer. Our plan is to build a fence around this area and as he keeps going to eat the grain, we will be able to capture him with ease. Well…in theory at least.”
On Tuesday, Sept. 15, Plymouth PD posted videos of Buddy exploring the ‘trap’ pen they set up for him, reporting that the bull had made a few appearances in front of the camera over the weekend.
In a statement to News 8, Thursday, Plymouth PD said they are noticing “that he travels a big area and has a nice spot to go into, travels back to that big area for two to three days, then disappears.”
They said of his upcoming new home at Critter Creek Farm Sanctuary in Florida, “If he knew where he was going, he’d already be in the trailer.”
On Sept. 23, in a series of Facebook posts, the PPD chronicled their stakeout efforts at their ‘trailer trap’.
The officer on ‘Buddy duty’ saw the bull cautiously come out of the woods to explore the trailer as he had before, enter the the pen for food, and eat it. But before he could close the gate on the beefalo, he got away.
On Facebook PPD wrote: “Beefalo 2 humans 0. He spooked and got away. Stay tuned. Will try again Friday night.”
On Saturday, Oct. 24, Plymouth Police said they were executing “Operation Sneaky Hoof”, adjusting their tactics in an effort to catch Buddy.
“We have been using a thermal imaging camera to help locate Buddy,” they said. “Tonight we have a night vision camera. This way we can keep the windows up making it harder for Mr. Beefalo to catch us. He’s good but we’re better. Stay tuned. Spotted about 50 yards out, moving away from us. Hopefully, he will come back.”
‘Beefalo’ began posting daily on Twitter starting Sept. 1, just about a month after he went missing.
‘Beefalo’ posts about enjoying his freedom in Connecticut, the summer weather, and ‘sets the record straight’ regarding media updates on his adventures.
He’s also adamant that “I ain’t going back” and encourages people to #FreetheBeefalo and #EatChicken.
On Monday, he thanked those “who contributed to my retirement fund” in reference to the police union’s fundraising efforts on GoFundMe, and added “Green pastures and good hay ahead! Mooooo!”
To follow the beefalo’s adventures daily on Twitter, click here.
WE CONCLUDE OUR REPORTING: PD: ‘Buddy the Beefalo’ captured after 8 months on the run in Plymouth