Archive for Wednesday, December 11, 2002

21 buffalo returned to owner

December 11, 2002

Buffalo that were taken from a rural Tonganoxie man's land for medical treatment last summer have been returned.

In August, Oskaloosa veterinarian Jerry Robbins and several other men rounded up 23 head of buffalo on land owned by Calvin McDaniel. Before the roundup, 10 buffalo had died on McDaniel's land, the victims of parasitic worms.

Once in Robbins' care, two more animals a young cow and the smallest calf in the herd perished.

"I expected more to die, but only two did," said Robbins.

And now, Robbins has returned 21 animals to McDaniel's land in the 20800 block of 219th Street, which is northwest of Tonganoxie. But he's worried about the effects winter might have on the animals.

"I really expect more to die," he said. "It depends on how much care is given to them."

Although the parasite that had attacked the herd is gone, the animals have little physical reserve. The buffaloes' overall health is not good and they need to gain weight, which will be difficult during the winter, Robbins said.

"It took six months to a year for those animals to get in that condition," he said. "You've got them on the right track because they weren't dying anymore, but their body condition wasn't much better than when they got here. : The biggest thing is they've got no body condition to pull off of. If we get a real cold spell, there are several buffalo that he's going to go out there and find dead."

Attempts to reach McDaniel were unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, a herd of about 35 buffalo on a farm east of Tonganoxie continues to be cared for, under an agreement reached by the owners and the Leavenworth County attorney's office. In January, Marc and Diane DeFries Thiry, who own Stranger Creek Ranch about two miles east of Tonganoxie on U.S. Highway 24-40, signed an agreement that states a caretaker would feed and look after the animals. In May 2001, sheriff's officers seized numerous animals, including 17 horses and 42 smaller animals, from the Thiry property. The buffalo remained behind, but the Thirys' attorney and the county reached an agreement concerning the buffaloes' care.

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