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Eight head of beef cattle, which normally would be content to munch on the grassy terrain at their steeply sloped pastureland, decided to see more of Sandy Hook than usual on the morning of Friday, September 29, escaping through a gap in some barbed-wire fencing at 56 Pole Bridge Road and then traipsing first south and then north along the residential road running parallel to Interstate 84.
Alerted of the problem, Carolee Mason, the municipal animal control officer, and Matt Schaub, an assistant animal control officer, promptly responded to the area.
The sturdy cattle, which were variously brown, black, brown and white, and black and white, soon found a greener pasture located between Pole Bridge Road and I-84. They were spotted walking down a slope toward I-84 and feeding on some rich, dense, deep green grass.
“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence,” Ms Mason observed as a possible reason for the animals leaving their home across the street.
Ms Mason and Mr Schaub enlisted the help of several people in the area to catch the frisky bovines and guide them back to their 41-acre pasture on the east side of Pole Bridge Road.
Ms Mason walked alongside the cattle, waving a slice of bread as bait for the animals to approach her, but for some reason, the cattle, acting as a herd, suddenly gathered together and bolted through a front yard before heading northward on Pole Bridge Road toward Bancroft Road and the Riverside neighborhood.
As the cattle walked northward, they encountered several vehicles traveling southward. A motorist then started sounding his auto’s horn, apparently startling the cattle and causing the animals to dart into a wooded area alongside the street.
Eventually, the cattle returned to the roadway and Ms Mason, Mr Schaub, and several others pursued the animals, getting them to walk in a group toward their normal grazing area. To ensure that the cattle did not go past the driveway that leads to the pasture, Ms Mason had a man who was using a piece of heavy construction equipment nearby park the big vehicle on the street to prevent the animals from traveling past the driveway.
Finally, the animals entered the driveway and then their pasture.
Ms Mason’s repeated attempts to reach the property’s owner by telephone had been unsuccessful. Later on September 29, she did contact him, explaining the need to have secure fencing around his pasture to prevent cattle from escaping and posing public safety hazards. Ms Mason noted that it was not the first time that cattle has escaped from that pasture.
Ardian Llomi, who lives out of town, owns the Sandy Hook pasture.
Ms Mason said that on October 2, Mr Llomi had the cattle removed from 56 Pole Bridge Road. Ms Mason said that if Mr Llomi plans to have more cattle graze at his property, he must ensure that it has better fencing to prevent the animals from escaping.
“If you’re not going to be there, you should have proper fencing,” she said, adding that she would make a point of inspecting such improved fencing to make sure it will be effective.
Other domesticated non-dog animals that town animal control officers have captured after their escapes over the years include horses, pigs, geese, ducks, and an emu, which is similar to an ostrich.