For months, Long Islanders have been captivated by the story of Barney the bull, who escaped from being slaughtered and has been on the run ever since.
Animal rescuers arranged for the bull to be taken to a sanctuary when found, but he has evaded capture since July — but now, Barney has finally been found alive, and is headed to his new home.
Over the summer the 1,500-pound bull escaped from a farm in Manorville, New York, breaking through a fence. The bull was reportedly meant to be sacrificed as part of a religious ritual for the Muslim holiday Eid.
Barney ran off, and created a local media frenzy after Long Islanders witnessed the bull wandering around their suburban streets.
“I look in my rearview mirror and all of a sudden I’m like, ‘There is a bull running down the street!’” Jeannine Bramer told CBS New York after spotting Barney in Mastic.
Barney’s run for freedom also generated a lot of sympathy for the animal. Not willing to see the bull be sent back for slaughter, local animal rights groups arranged for him to be spared and taken to a sanctuary.
“There is no need to kill an animal for sacrifice. He is terrified. He is running for his life right now just like you or I would if someone was trying to murder us,” said John DiLeonardo, president of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature, told CBS.
However, Barney continued to evade capture. For months, no one saw the runaway bull, and he was believed to be hiding in the woods, with plenty of means to survive — and hide.
“He’s big, he’s young, he’s fast,” Frankie Floridia of Strong Island Rescue told Newsday. “He’s also got a dark black coat, so he was hard to see at night in the shadows.”
Rescuers tried every tactic to lure the bull out, but none worked — not even enticing him with a lady cow.
Months passed, with no sign of Barney. People began to wonder if the bull would ever be found, or if he had even survived months on his own.
But finally, after two months on the run, Barney has finally been found and brought to safety.
“Look who we found cruising around Long Island,” Skylands Animal Sanctuary and Rescue wrote on Facebook. “He is one handsome kid.”
According to Newsday, Barney was caught shortly before midnight on Wednesday. The rescue team set up a one-ton trough in the woods, and were able to remotely lock him into a corral while he was feeding.
While he still needs to get his blood tested, Barney appears to be in healthy shape. Despite two months fending for himself in the woods, he was impressively strong.
“I think he’s a brawler; he’s just brute force, he is powerful, I’ve never seen a steer kick that hard,” rescuer Mike Stura told Newsday.
Barney is now being relocated to his new home at the Skylands Animal Sanctuary and Rescue in New Jersey. “He is healthy; he will live his life out on that farm,” said SPCA Chief Roy Gross.
The search effort brought together several local animal groups, but they were challenged by the heavily wooded area and proximity to the busy Sunrise Highway, Newsday reported. They were unable to use lassos or tranquilizers in their attempts to finally catch Barney.
After two months of no success, Gross said there was renewed pressure, as the bow-and-arrow deer hunting season begins in the area on October 1.
Needless to say, everyone involved was happy that Barney was found in time, still alive and well.
“We would like to thank everyone for their support and concern as well as rescue groups who also assisted during this ordeal,” Gross said, according to Long Island Press. “Great job of collaboration by all who participated.”
We’re so glad that Barney the bull has been found alive and well after so long, and that he will get to spend the rest of his life in a sanctuary!
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