Concerns over public safely and other issues compelled Grand County Sheriff’s deputies to shoot and kill a water buffalo that escaped its owner and was wandering loose on Spanish Valley Drive near its intersection with Beeman Road on Nov. 3. A horse also died after the buffalo damaged neighboring property.
The animal’s owner agreed with the decision to put it down after the incident was called in at about 7:05 p.m.
Grand County Sheriff’s Lt. Kim Neal in a statement said the buffalo in its wanderings destroyed fencing and corrals, from which a horse fled and was missing for a while. The horse was later found in an underground culvert, and due to mortal injuries the decision was made to have a veterinarian euthanize the animal.
Neal said the buffalo passed through an electrified ribbon fence before it jumped over a chain link fence and escaped from its enclosure. He said the buffalo broke through a neighbor’s gate and damaged the fencing and corrals.
The animal was eventually returned to its enclosure. The sheriff’s office in a social media statement posted the night of the incident, cited logistical problems and a lack of tranquilizers as reasons to put down the animal, in addition to concerns over public safety, which proved to influence the decision.
“The owner of the water buffalo, in consultation with Sheriff Steven White and veterinarian Len Sorenson, examined different means of dealing with the water buffalo,” said Neal in his statement. “Taking into account the protection of property and public safety, they agreed that the water buffalo would be destroyed at that time.” Neal said two deputies shot the animal.
A damage estimate has not been completed, said Neal.