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BY DAN RATTINER
A bull on the loose shut down Sunrise
Highway Tuesday morning
and authorities are continuing to
search for the animal. The bull was
first spotted on Montgomery Avenue
in Mastic around 8:30 a.m. Police
are advising residents in the area to
stay inside.”— ABC News, July 21
On hearing the news, I put in
calls to five cowboys who are
summering in the Hamptons.
Mastic is just a few
miles from Westhampton
Beach. We’d have to round
him up before he headed east.
Got hold of Wild Bill Hickok
in Quogue, Gene Autry in Hampton
Bays, Hopalong Cassidy in Shinnecock,
John Wayne in Southampton,
and Roy Rogers in Mecox.
“Saddle up and meet me at the
Lobster Inn at Shinnecock at noon,”
I told each of them. “Bring your lassos.”
Then I drove over to Madonna’s
Bridgehampton horse farm, where
she put me aboard the fastest steed
At noon, we assembled at the Lobster
Inn in Shinnecock right across
the street from where there’s a statue
of me riding a giant lobster.
“Men,” I said, and I was about to
speak further when Annie Oakley,
who’s living in Sag Harbor, rode up
on a beautiful black mare. So I began
“We’re out of here in 10 minutes,”
I said. “Annie, you’re going up and
down Manorville Road from the
Sunrise to the LIE. Hopalong, canter
along the shoulder of the Sunrise and
go east to west from Hampton Bays to
Speonk. Then head back. Roy, head
to East Moriches. Full gallop. Get
on Lewis Avenue and ride its whole
length east. Gene and Wild Bill, we
want you patrolling on the William
Floyd Parkway heading south in
Shirley. Start at Popeye’s Louisiana
Kitchen. We want you two together.”
I sniffed the air.
“My gut tells me that’s where this
bull is. Get in front and behind him.
See the bull, call me up and I’ll arrange
for everyone to converge on
your location. I’ll be right here at the
Lobster Inn to take command.”
Then I handed each of them a Dick
Tracy wrist radio from my collection.
The Dick Tracys were the first
iPhones. I have 32 of them.
Later in the day, I heard
the bull had been rounded
up, but not by us. The job
was done by the Suffolk
County Police. He’d broken
through a fence at a
Manorville farm. He’s on
his way to a farm in New
I spoke into my watch.
“Stand down, everybody. Meet me
at the Union Burger Bar in Southampton.
Others caught him. But we
apparently kept the bull from coming
east to the Hamptons.”
I rode over to the burger bar in 5
minutes. While I waited for the others,
I had a beer. I also watched the
TV above the bar. And it seems the
bull had not been rounded up. There
was all sorts of information.
A reporter from ABC was talking to
a man named Tasbir Ahammed.
“It just started chasing everybody
at the ceremony,” he said. He said the
bull was supposed to be sacrificed for
the annual Eid-al-Adha Muslim holiday.
One-third of the meat is eaten
by the worshippers and two-thirds
to those in poverty. A man named
Shiful Islam showed the reporter
scrapes on his fingers and wrists. He
said he got them when he was trying
to run away from the bull.
I went online.
Newsday interviewed one of the
searchers, Frankie Florida, who said
the police helicopter was back up in
“I was on watch until 2 a.m. last
night,” he said. He also said he’d
spotted the bull several times with a
thermal imaging device.
ABC interviewed a man named
John DiLeonardo from LION, which
stands for Long Island Orchestrating
for Nature organization.
“We’re looking for tracks,” DiLeonardo
DiLeonardo appeared on Inside
Edition. The New York Post said the
bull had been seen in Stony Brook.
DiLeonardo told Newsday, “We
have the corral set up, we’re taking
shifts with the other rescue groups,
ready to pull the rope if he goes in.”
He said a heifer in heat had been
brought in. Maybe seduction would
bring in the bull. It didn’t.
CBS interviewed Mastic resident
Deborah Popp. “All of a sudden I look
outside and I go, ‘Oh, a horse! A horse
just went by, and I go, No, it’s a cow.’
CBS reported that the Jaeger Animal
Wildlife Rescue team was out
armed with tranquilizer guns in the
woods and on the roads. They’d seen
him twice but each time he got away.
Patch reported that the Sunrise
Highway shutdown was only at the
eastbound Exit 58 as police tried to
wrangle the bull but failed.
DiLeonardo told Patch that the
animal came from a local slaughterhouse
on Barnes Road and the new
owner has agreed to surrender the
animal to his LION organization.
“We have someone who can tranquilize
him and we can take him away
from here, where he will be loved and
not eaten,” DiLeonardo said.
Turns out the Barnes Road property
where Barney the Bull broke free
is a former duck farm, now populated
with dozens of cattle, sheep and
goats. Animals are kept at this location
before religious rituals.
And more news. The SPCA is investigating
whether the bull is to be
killed humanely, and Skylands Animal
Sanctuary and Rescue workers
are on their way from New Jersey.
“We have to go out again,” I told
our cowboys and cowgirls when they
“Well, count me out,” Cassidy said.
“I’m no spring chicken anymore.
Something sprung in my back.”
“I’m getting my hair done,” said
“I’m taking a shift as a valet car
parker this evening at Gurney’s,” said
“We’re invited out on a sail,” said
“And I’m being honored at a fundraiser
later today,” said Autry.
“Well,” said Wayne, “if others won’t
go, t han I w on’t e ither. A ll y ou g ot
there is a lot of fake news, it seems
And so we all went our separate
ways. I went to the NAIA Restaurant
at the Capri Hotel in Southampton
where, when I ordered their special
bull martini, money got raised to
make a bull pasture out back for Barney.
Keep the faith.
HERE’S THE WILD BULL IN SOMEBODY’S YARD. BUT SOME SAY IT IS A STEER NOT A BULL
Rounding Up the Bull