A bull on the loose shut down Sunrise Highway Tuesday morning and authorities are continuing to search for the animal. The bull was first spotted on Montgomery Avenue in Mastic around 8:30 a.m. Police are advising residents in the area to stay inside.”— ABC News, July 21
On hearing the news, I put in calls to five cowboys who are summering in the Hamptons. Mastic is just a few miles from Westhampton Beach. We’d have to round him up before he headed east.
Got hold of Wild Bill Hickok in Quogue, Gene Autry in Hampton Bays, Hopalong Cassidy in Shinnecock, John Wayne in Southampton, and Roy Rogers in Mecox.
“Saddle up and meet me at the Lobster Inn at Shinnecock at noon,” I told each of them. “Bring your lassos.”
Then I drove over to Madonna’s Bridgehampton horse farm, where she put me aboard the fastest steed they had.
At noon, we assembled at the Lobster Inn in Shinnecock right across the street from where there’s a statue of me riding a giant lobster.
“Men,” I said, and I was about to speak further when Annie Oakley, who’s living in Sag Harbor, rode up on a beautiful black mare. So I began again.
“We’re out of here in 10 minutes,” I said. “Annie, you’re going up and down Manorville Road from the Sunrise to the LIE. Hopalong, canter along the shoulder of the Sunrise and go east to west from Hampton Bays to Speonk. Then head back. Roy, head to East Moriches. Full gallop. Get on Lewis Avenue and ride its whole length east. Gene and Wild Bill, we want you patrolling on the William Floyd Parkway heading south in Shirley. Start at Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen. We want you two together.”
I sniffed the air.
“My gut tells me that’s where this bull is. Get in front and behind him. See the bull, call me up and I’ll arrange for everyone to converge on your location. I’ll be right here at the Lobster Inn to take command.”
Then I handed each of them a Dick Tracy wrist radio from my collection. The Dick Tracys were the first iPhones. I have 32 of them.
Later in the day, I heard the bull had been rounded up, but not by us. The job was done by the Suffolk County Police. He’d broken through a fence at a Manorville farm. He’s on his way to a farm in New Jersey.
I spoke into my watch.
“Stand down, everybody. Meet me at the Union Burger Bar in Southampton. Others caught him. But we apparently kept the bull from coming east to the Hamptons.”
I rode over to the burger bar in 5 minutes. While I waited for the others, I had a beer. I also watched the TV above the bar. And it seems the bull had not been rounded up. There was all sorts of information.
A reporter from ABC was talking to a man named Tasbir Ahammed.
“It just started chasing everybody at the ceremony,” he said. He said the bull was supposed to be sacrificed for the annual Eid-al-Adha Muslim holiday. One-third of the meat is eaten by the worshippers and two-thirds to those in poverty. A man named Shiful Islam showed the reporter scrapes on his fingers and wrists. He said he got them when he was trying to run away from the bull.
I went online.
Newsday interviewed one of the searchers, Frankie Florida, who said the police helicopter was back up in the sky.
“I was on watch until 2 a.m. last night,” he said. He also said he’d spotted the bull several times with a thermal imaging device.
ABC interviewed a man named John DiLeonardo from LION, which stands for Long Island Orchestrating for Nature organization.
“We’re looking for tracks,” DiLeonardo said.
DiLeonardo appeared on Inside Edition. The New York Post said the bull had been seen in Stony Brook.
DiLeonardo told Newsday, “We have the corral set up, we’re taking shifts with the other rescue groups, ready to pull the rope if he goes in.”
He said a heifer in heat had been brought in. Maybe seduction would bring in the bull. It didn’t.
CBS interviewed Mastic resident Deborah Popp. “All of a sudden I look outside and I go, ‘Oh, a horse! A horse just went by, and I go, No, it’s a cow.’
CBS reported that the Jaeger Animal Wildlife Rescue team was out armed with tranquilizer guns in the woods and on the roads. They’d seen him twice but each time he got away.
Patch reported that the Sunrise Highway shutdown was only at the eastbound Exit 58 as police tried to wrangle the bull but failed.
DiLeonardo told Patch that the animal came from a local slaughterhouse on Barnes Road and the new owner has agreed to surrender the animal to his LION organization.
“We have someone who can tranquilize him and we can take him away from here, where he will be loved and not eaten,” DiLeonardo said.
Turns out the Barnes Road property where Barney the Bull broke free is a former duck farm, now populated with dozens of cattle, sheep and goats. Animals are kept at this location before religious rituals.
And more news. The SPCA is investigating whether the bull is to be killed humanely, and Skylands Animal Sanctuary and Rescue workers are on their way from New Jersey.
“We have to go out again,” I told our cowboys and cowgirls when they showed up.
“Well, count me out,” Cassidy said. “I’m no spring chicken anymore. Something sprung in my back.”
“I’m getting my hair done,” said Annie Oakley.
“I’m taking a shift as a valet car parker this evening at Gurney’s,” said Rogers.
“We’re invited out on a sail,” said Hickock.
“And I’m being honored at a fundraiser later today,” said Autry.
“Well,” said Wayne, “if others won’t go, then I won’t either. All you got there is a lot of fake news, it seems to me.”
And so we all went our separate ways. I went to the NAIA Restaurant at the Capri Hotel in Southampton where, when I ordered their special bull martini, money got raised to make a bull pasture out back for Barney.
Keep the faith.