Calf with a beef goes on the lam

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“Herbie the Hereford” is enjoying a well-deserved rest in upstate New York as a new owner appears ready to give the wayward calf a permanent home.

“We have someone interested in providing Herbie a loving home with eight acres and a barn,” said Robin Henderson, an animal care giver at Woodstock Farms. “This calf has been through a lot of trauma and this new owner could be the perfect fit.”

The 4-month-old Hereford calf was on the way to the slaughterhouse last Wednesday when he escaped into the streets of Bay Ridge, setting off a wild goose chase that briefly cowed local authorities.

“This cow could sense what was about to happen and did the right thing,” said Najiyya Ali of the Center for Animal Care and Control.

The excitement began when “Herbie,” saw an opportunity to bolt as the owner attempted to transfer the calf into a truck for the trip to the slaughterhouse near a busy Sixth Avenue intersection.

The calf’s run for freedom was an unusual brand of excitement for residents who are still getting accustomed to the idea of sharing Bay Ridge with wild raccoons.

Video of the cow chase posted shortly afterwards on the Internet showed the calf in a furious gallop with police in hot pursuit.

The excitement was short lived as authorities quickly had the animal tranquilized and in custody, but instead of handing the cow back to the owner, a Christmas miracle of sorts occurred (at least as far as the cow was concerned).

“The owner did not have the appropriate paperwork to be transporting the calf,” Ali said, who was responsible for the nickname “Herbie the Hereford.”

Without the paperwork, the cow was confiscated by police and brought to the CACC, which turned him over to the Woodstock Farm, an animal sanctuary in upstate New York.

It’s no surprise that Herbie feels safe at the sanctuary, whose motto is “Make Love, not Burgers” and offers a poster of a rabbit holding a protest sign reading, “Get your own damn fur!”

Herbie remains a bit skeptical of people, though.

“He was freaked out because his former owner treated him like a piece of meat,” Henderson said. “But we have all been just loving on him.”

Henderson also said Herbie allows handlers to pet him and feed him with a bottle.

“Calves are just as smart as dogs,” Henderson said. “Just think about Herbie the next time you want to eat a hamburger.”

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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