Thursday, October 27, 2011

Milford’s Running of the Bull

In most urban dwellers reality, a cow is known only by the name the local grocer assigns it. Those terms are: ‘flank, rump roast, rib eye, steak, hamburger; not living, breathing, feeling, sentient being.

Recently Milford, with only 278 acres for agricultural use, another 1,665 acres for open space and only 7 registered farms, has been host to a four-hooved friend. A bewildered bovine has taken up refuge in backyards & wooded areas in the Calf Pen Meadow School area since late June or early July.

When Milford Animal Control was alerted to a roaming ruminant wandering, grazing and ruminating in residential neighborhoods, the investigation to discover exactly how this beefy boy, most likely a fugitive from slaughter, began. From the first photograph sighting, ACO Rick George concluded his black coloring, size and tag in his ear labeled him as a Black Angus breed, who probably escaped from a corral across from Lattella’s Farm on Prindle Hill Road on the West Haven/Orange line, where he was being raised to be food.

Rumors began to circulate that this was one mad cow (I know, a cow is a female, a bull or ox is a male) who refused to end up on someone’s dinner plate. And with that, it seems he decided to create his own fate. He hoofed it right out of that slaughter house queue and into his current life on the lamb.
Always elusive and rarely allowing photographs, this sacred bull somehow seems to sense that if caught, he could end up dying a horrible slaughter house death. So he has kept himself well hidden deep inside his wooded sanctuary, defying statistics to be yet another neatly cellophane wrapped hunk of meat lying about in a refrigerated section of some Piggly Wiggly cut up into pieces unrecognizable, except for the label slapped upon his once living and now decaying carcass.

So what is a dog catcher do when such a brazen bovine challenges fate? Trying to round up a herd-of-one can be quite a challenge, especially when this elusive hoofed ox has settled into the same 15 acres of wooded land where history’s lure claims local residents hid their cattle from the British during the Revolutionary war.

Animal Control Officer Rick George has since created an elaborate humane trap, scaled to fit a nearly 4oo lb, plumped for slaughter steer. But to slaughter he won’t go, absolutely not states Officer George. It seems that if this hapless farmer did want his chattle back, there would be a hefty fine to pay. Thus far, no rancher has claimed him.

Officer George said the bull is skittish, and has organized a reconnaissance type mission; with the help of the State Department of Agriculture, a large animal veterinarian, and a tranquillizer gun, to try and capture the bull before the cold New England winter sets in. “He needs to be moved to a safe place before the weather turns bad”, George said.
George could not stress enough that this bull would not be anyone’s burger. “Not on my watch”, he stated with authority.

As soon as he is safely secured, ACO George said has made arrangements for this herbivore to have a forever farm-charmed life; a life reminiscent to Old MacDonald’s farm, where there is a promise to love, honor and cherish this beefy boy until NATURAL death do they part. He will be living a charmed country cows life, mooingly happily ever after.

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