East Alabama: Where the buffalo roam? - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

East Alabama: Where the buffalo roam?

The first photo sent to WTVM by Sherri Sauter. The first photo sent to WTVM by Sherri Sauter.
Photo credit:  Renea Bryant Photo credit: Renea Bryant
Photo credit: Jamie Johnson Williams Photo credit: Jamie Johnson Williams
Photo credit: Bob Beason Photo credit: Bob Beason
Photo credit: Beverly Missal Photo credit: Beverly Missal

What began as a quirky story about buffalo on the loose in Smiths Station, Ala. has come to a sad conclusion. Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones has confirmed that one of the three animals has died.

Three bison (commonly mistaken for buffalo) escaped from their owner's land, and were spotted roaming around East Alabama today, July 9, 2013.

The first photo came to the WTVM Newsroom at 12:22 p.m. from Sherri Sauter. Her email read:

There is a buffalo walking around on the streets in Russell County. By the Wendy's on Hwy 80. Kinda scary!!!

After that, the photos and updates came streaming in as residents continued to spot the bison wandering around, walking down the middle of the street, grazing in lawns, and coming within a few yards of a front door.

The photos spread through social media, and soon, so did the rumors that one of the animals had been euthanized.

At first, Sheriff Jones believed the rumors to be false. He said two of the bison had returned to the owner, while the search for the third one had been turned over to Alabama State Conservation agents. The animals were not believed to be a danger to the public, so there was no intention to euthanize them.

Later, Sheriff Jones confirmed that the third animal had died from apparent cardiac arrest as a result of being shot with a tranquilizer.

Several residents have said that this was not the first time the bison have broken loose and wandered around the area.

Statement from Auburn University College of VeterinaryMedicine:

Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine staffwas called into a situation today (Tuesday, July 9, 2013) involving a Buffaloon the loose in and around a neighborhood area in eastern Lee County, Ala.

Working with the Lee County Sheriff's Department andthe owners of the Buffalo bull, Dr. Jennifer Taintor, an associate professor inthe Department of Clinical Sciences and an Ambulatory veterinarian, respondedand tranquilized the animal. 

The animal never became sedated enough to be handledsafely and a decision was made by the animal's owners to euthanize the animalbecause he was a danger to human safety and property.

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