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Freedom: Animal Control Says Runaway Cow is Safe

One official suggests a perception of secrecy created 'paranoia' about Wanda's future. But the cow who was on the run for months will not turn into anyone's dinner.

News that Milford’s wayward cow, Wanda, was finally captured last week ignited over concern for the heifer’s future.

"There is no chance that the cow is going to be slaughtered," said .

Wanda, the young, black Angus cow which escaped from a farm in Orange, turned up in Milford last summer hanging out with a herd of deer near Gulf Pond.

A team of animal control officers and animal rescuers finally corralled it last Wednesday evening, subdued with a tranquilizer dart and transported it to a farm in Oxford.

That wasn’t satisfactory for a handful of bloggers, who warned that the cow would end up on dinner plates if it stayed at that farm. They questioned why George didn’t allow an animal sanctuary organization to take the cow to a farm it runs in upstate New York instead.

George said none of that is true. State Department of Agriculture officials who found a home for the animal assured him it would live out its life peacefully at the farm in Oxford, he said. He said keeping the cow in Connecticut avoided the expense of veterinary tests required if it were moved across the state line.

He also defended himself for refusing to identify the farm where the cow was taken, out of a concern that it might make the farmer a target for animal rights activists.

"I’m sorry they want to know where it’s going," George said. "It’s none of their business where it’s going."

George said he had offers months ago from farms offering to take the animal, but turned them down because those farms slaughter cattle.

"I’m fine with that," said Susie Coston, national shelter director for the farm animal rescue organization, Farm Sanctuary, in Watkins Glen, N.Y.

But Coston said George’s critics were reacting to his lack of transparency. "Most people are inclined to believe the worst sometimes," she said. "There is a paranoia that because they are being secretive, there must be something wrong."

She said Farm Sanctuary attempted to contact Milford Animal Control months ago, but Rick George refused to return their telephone calls. Unlike the farm in Oxford, animal rights advocates know and trust Farm Sanctuary, she said.

"I think that’s why people wanted the animal to come here, because they know we have a good reputation," Coston said.

Farm Sanctuary operates a 175 acre farm near Watkins Glen where Wanda would have been comfortable living with other cows. The organization also has a 300 acre farm in central California and a small petting farm near Los Angeles.

Tom and Kathy Ferraro, who fed the cow for months and helped animal control officers to catch it, are among Rick George’s defenders. Tom said he and his wife did not want the cow to go to a slaughterhouse, and they trust George’s word that she won’t.

"As far as my wife and I are concerned, we’re totally happy with the outcome," he said.

bob wilson December 21, 2011 at 06:07 PM
GOOD JOB OFFICER RICK..............................
deb December 22, 2011 at 02:13 PM
None of which answers the question of WHY, after being quoted as saying he would send the cow to a sanctuary, George turned around and gave it to a farm that he refuses to identify. Looking past his offensive and obviously diversionary comment about animal activists (and frankly I wouldn't trust an ACO who doesn't regard animal activists as his friend), we had a place that would transport her and cover all necessary arrangements at no cost to the state - and George didn't even have the courtesy to return phone calls. And even if we can believe George's statement that Wanda will not be slaughtered, she may well be used for breeding animals for slaughter, and she will certainly not have the chance to be part of a stable herd. What is there to be pleased about?
RIck George December 22, 2011 at 04:34 PM
I apoligize for the animal activist comment in the article. Should have stated anyone that violates the rights of another for their own agenda. I have many friends on all sides of animal issues. Sorry Deb.
Kathleen December 22, 2011 at 07:36 PM
Maybe it is time to simply appreciate what is WITHOUT A DOUBT a very happy ending to an extraordinary story about a young cow who escaped slaughter, travelled for miles and settled with a herd of deer in a place called Calf Pen Meadow. For over five months my family fed William (Wallace/Braveheart!). We heard from neighbors who made sure she had access to their stream,everyone caring and hoping for the best. Our daughter teaches in the Milford School system and incorporated William's story in her lesson plans, a teaching colleague wrestled in a bale of hay- this is a positive story that illustrates what's right about Milford and the compassion of the people who live here. Rick George worked tirelessly to resolve William's plight. There were other less happy outcomes offered (per the DEP), who follow a quicker, lethal protocol. Rick promised she would be saved, and she was. The team he assembled was amazing, they handled William with such care and respect. It was ridiculous to read criticisms because her nose was bloodied during her capture. Her nose? This is a wild animal capable of jumping a five foot fence! That she did not break a leg, neck or run through the dark marsh in a sedated state is proof of this care.This story must not be used to further any groups agenda, as ironically, this endangers her perfect placement. Thank you again Rick, and thanks for this forum, Milford Patch.- Kathy & Tom Ferrara
deb December 23, 2011 at 04:16 PM
Rick, I appreciate your apology and I'm glad to hear that you don't regard animal activists as your enemy. Painting us with the "fanatics who will do anything" brush has become all too common a trick for people who are trying to divert attention from the real issue. Which is what has happened here: while, as I said, I appreciate your statement, there are still many questions left unanswered. Most pressing in my mind is why you would ignore offers of assistance from the people who are nationally recognized experts in this kind of rescue, and who know better than anyone how to address the needs of a cow once you have agreed that it won't enter the food chain. Why ignore calls from the Farm Sanctuary if you really have the cow's best interest at heart? And why refuse to divulge any information about Wanda's present whereabouts if you truly think that she's in the best possible situation? And why reject the chance to get Wanda to a place where she and her companions will not be used in any way to their detriment, at no cost whatever to the town or the state? And let's see if we can get some answers to those questions without resorting to suggesting that those of us who are concerned about Wanda's welfare are extremists who will be behaving in illegal and dangerous ways if we get the information we are looking for, shall we?

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