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Search enters fifth day for escaped bull

Suffolk County police on scene of a bull

Suffolk County police on scene of a bull running loose on Montgomery Avenue in Mastic Tuesday morning. Credit: SCPD

"Aviation is up! Got a sighting!"

Frankie Floridia, one of the animal rescuers who has been searching for a runaway bull in the Mastic-Shirley area since Tuesday, was out of breath Friday morning: A FedEx driver had seen the animal from the side of the road, and now a police helicopter was back in the sky joining the search.

It was the second sighting since the night before, Floridia said, when he spotted the bull in the distance via a thermal imaging device.

Floridia would not say exactly where the bull was sighted.

But despite keeping watch until nearly 2 a.m. Saturday, using thermal and cellular night vision cameras, Floridia said the bull remained on the loose.

Animal rescuers have been searching for the 1,500-pound animal ever since it escaped from a Moriches farm on Tuesday.

The search has been done on foot and on horseback, and with helicopters, drones, and thermal cameras. Searchers have even sent out a cow in heat and set up a horse pen loaded with grain.

Nothing, so far, has worked.

For days, Suffolk County police officers, a search team with Floridia and other Strong Island members, as well as a group attached to John Di Leonardo and his Long Island Orchestrating for Nature, wandered dense underbrush in the Mastic-Shirley area in search of the bull, now nicknamed "Barney."

Di Leonardo said Friday, "We’re still on the case, patience is the name of the game from now on."

He added: "We have the corral set up, we’re taking shifts with the other rescue groups, ready to pull the rope if he goes in. We have a camera set up."

The plan is to send the bull to an animal sanctuary, the men have said.

With Joan Gralla and John Valenti

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