A police captain’s white whale: Buddy the Beefalo remains free despite best efforts

Jesse Leavenworth, Hartford Courant
·3 min read

Like his fictional counterparts, Ahab and Quint, Plymouth police Capt. Edward Benecchi has been obsessed with a powerful, elusive quarry.

“He is my white whale,” Benecchi said of his 3 1/4 u00bd-month-long hunt for Buddy the Beefalo.

The half-ton bull continues a freedom-loving life of ease, proving too fast during a recent attempt to lock him down.

The aggressive, horn-lowering, hoof scratching cross between domestic cattle and bison has been on the loose in the woods and fields of Plymouth since fleeing a local slaughterhouse on Aug. 3. Concerned about the public danger Buddy poses, Benecchi has tried various means, including the aid of a state police drone, to corral the beast.

On his own time, the committed captain has put out apples, hay, grain and pellets infused with molasses and kept a periodic night watch in a private backyard, where an animal trailer and reinforced steel pen is set up.

Sitting in the passenger seat of his pickup truck, Benecchi has used both thermal imaging and night vision scopes to spot Buddy emerging from deep woods. He has kept a rope snaked into the truck leading to a gate on the corral. His practiced plan has been to pull that rope and secure the gate once the beefalo is well inside.

Most watches have been fruitless. Buddy has ventured close to feast on the feed laid out to lure him, but has not entered the heavily reinforced enclosure. Recently, however, the bull ambled inside, and Benecchi said he and a helper scrambled to impound the beast.

Alerted to the trap, however, Buddy bolted.

“We couldn’t close that door fast enough because he’s so fast and agile,” Benecchi said.

The plan now is to adjust the pen so the gate can be snapped shut more quickly. The good news, Benecchi said, is that Buddy has been hanging around in the same general area and has not been crossing Route 72 as he had been in his first several weeks on the run. The captain said he has been particularly concerned about a traffic accident.

Police have raised money to buy Buddy from a Massachusetts farmer. When the beefalo is finally caught, police plan to ship him to the Critter Creek Farm Sanctuary in Gainesville, Fla., where Buddy can roam with dozens of other rescued farm animals.

Meanwhile, the legend of the Terryville beefalo grows, fed in part by the beast’s own Twitter account: @Beefalo30835628. The latest tweet on Nov. 14 — “Beefalo here! Good to see the sun this morning — getting kinda tired of all the rain — going to be cold tonight, below freezing, so make sure the critters are warm and inside so they don’t freeze!”

Half-brother to the shaggy herds at home on the frigid Great Plains, Buddy is more than comfortable in the cold, Benecchi said.

But in the end, the beefalo, he says, must be caught.

Jesse Leavenworth can be reached at jleavenworth@courant.com


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