Animal rescuers plastered signs around the Mastic area Saturday urging residents to call 911 should they spot the now-famous Barney the bull around town.
Chief Roy Gross of the Suffolk County SPCA said rescue groups still believe the animal is in a wooded section of the Mastic-Shirley area judging by recently spotted hoof prints. The SPCA is asking people to stay back to keep the animal calm enough to eventually make its way into an enclosure for capture.
"We pretty much flooded the area with signs to call 911 because they can respond faster than anyone else," Gross said.
Barney escaped from a Moriches farm on July 20 and rescuers have been on his trail ever since. The plan is to take him to the 230-acre Stura’s Skylands Animal Sanctuary & Rescue in Wantage, New Jersey.
The 1,500-pound animal does have plenty of grass to eat and access to fresh water from a river, Gross said.
Bayport veterinarian Dennis Dougherty has donated tranquilizing serum to the Suffolk County Police Department, which has been distributed to the Emergency Services Unit, according to Gross. Police would have to sedate the animal for transport should it become overly active after being caught.
The chance of the bull becoming agitated is exactly why Gross and others are asking the public to back off and call the authorities should they see Barney.
"Don’t try to be a cowboy and throw a rope on it because you’re going to get hurt," Gross said. "Let’s get Barney trapped and let’s get him safely transported up to the sanctuary. He’s been through enough."