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Refugee Steer

Posted by tinako on March 22, 2012

My Dad owns 200 acres of farmland and woods several hours away in central New York.  Only about 15% of it is in production, rented to a local farmer.  The rest he just plays with: planting trees, putting in ponds, mowing rotations, trails.  The object is to improve it for wildlife.  He follows a good forester’s advice and is head of the state forest owner’s association, which encourages responsible stewardship.


Anyway, an unusual visitor showed up last fall: this steer.  He escaped from a neighbor’s land (actually a mile from my Dad’s).  The neighbor had only this one steer to look after for someone else for pay, and he ran off.  So the steer was in my Dad’s woods, and the neighbor didn’t know how to get him out, so planned to shoot him and drag him out.  My Dad protested about doing that on his land and the neighbor, with no plan B, abandoned the steer for the winter.

Fortunately it was a very mild winter, and also my Dad’s hunter friend brought in bales of hay.  This was especially kind of the friend since he wasn’t happy the steer was eating from feed plots he had planted for deer.

So the steer is still there, and appears healthy (see this video).   When I first heard this story last fall I suggested to my Dad that he call Farm Sanctuary.  He did but I’m sorry to report that they declined to get involved, which was very disappointing.  None of us are farmers and have no safe place to keep or send this guy.  Now that he’s clearly been abandoned by his owner to the elements all winter I’ve just contacted Farm Sanctuary myself with this trailcam photo (which was one of their caveats – they wanted to know what kind of cattle he was).

I’ll let you know what happens.

3 Responses to “Refugee Steer”

  1. Any chance your dad might plant some oats, wheat, or other grasses or build a simple shelter?

  2. tinako said

    They got back to me that they want to help but they don’t have the authority to go out and take him, in case the owner comes back. We need to contact animal control so they can take him legally. We should keep F.S. in the loop, and they can provide placement once animal control has him.

    I’ll keep you posted.

  3. tinako said

    The owner shot and killed the cow on someone else’s property.

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