Buffalo surrenders at Ripley County Jail
the Buffalo roam
Wanda English Burnett, Editor
Described as a big pet Roscoe the Buffalo, who weighs
in at about 2,000 pounds, left home early Friday morning to
roam the streets of Versailles.
The problem with the pet that belonged to Jim and Joyce Samples
of Versailles, was that he was big, and police had to quickly
corral him. He wasnt vicious, he was just big,
Joyce told the Osgood Journal.
According to Sheriff Tom Grills, the call came in to the communications
office a little after 7 a.m. Friday, September 18 that a buffalo
was running loose in the town of Versailles.
Officers from the Ripley County Sheriffs Office and Indiana
State Police immediately dispatched to find the animal roaming
the streets. Officers attempted to corral the animal several
times to no avail, noted Sheriff Grills.
The sheriff further noted that the animal ran through a busy
intersection at US 50 and US 421, thankfully avoiding colliding
with the motoring public.
Sheriff Grills said after about a 30 minute attempt to corral
the buffalo, the decision to put him down was made for
obvious safety reasons. He further noted at that time,
the animal, ironically, ran right into a fenced area of
the sheriffs office. The sheriff said he was thankful,
because he did not want to put him down.
The animal was contained in that area until the owner was located
and also a veterinarian arrived with the sedation medication.
According to police the buffalo was corralled by officers who
used ropes to guide the animal into a stock trailer.
Initial statements to the media from the sheriff were, It
was the best possible outcome to a dangerous situation. Public
safety is of utmost concern when there is a 1800-pound wild
animal running loose you cant control. He further
noted that at the time they made the decision to put the animal
down, it was disheartening. I am glad the animal traveled
where it did, we were able to corral it, and we saved the animal.
He further noted that nobody was hurt, and hoped the buffalo
would be able to roam his home pastures once again.
This wasnt the case. Joyce said Roscoe died about 3 p.m.
that same day, which was heartbreaking for her and her husband.
Jim had him about 10 years, she told the Osgood
Journal, and they got him when he was just a baby. He
was the first one he (Jim) bought, Joyce noted, saying
that was the beginning of them owning buffalo.
The Samples have about seven more buffalo, which are located
on a farm near Versailles, and near the entrance of the Versailles
State Park. Ted Tapp, manager of the park, said the buffalo
are a big attraction for people who come to the State Park each
Joyce said she didnt know why the buffalo went on a trip,
he wasnt prone to such action. She did say they thought
a storm had brought down a tree and that could possibly be the
source of his escape route. Whatever the case, they are sad
to lose this animal that the sheriff correctly describes as
Sheriff Grills noted he was sad to hear the animal had died
because they went to great lengths to save it.
Milan and Versailles police departments were also part of the
crew helping with the incident on Friday.
Pictured above is Roscoe, the roaming Buffalo, that
after running through town, made his way to the Ripley
County Sheriff's Office where he was corralled using the
existing fence, along with police vehicles. It was quite
a morning last Friday as police from various agencies
worked together with employees of the Laughery Valley
Veterinary Clinic to bring this massive animal under control.
At left, Sheriff Tom Grills is pictured just as he threw
a tranquilizer dart at the animal. He told the Osgood
Journal, "He (the buffalo) was the most majestic
and beautiful thing I've been that close to." He
said he hoped the animal survived, because they had done
everything in their power to bring the incident to a peaceful
end for everyone. That, however, was not the case, as
Roscoe, who was described by his owners, Jim and Joyce
Samples of Versailles, as a "big pet" died about
3 p.m. that day. There weren't sure if it was the trauma
of the chase, the tranquilizers, or the combination of
both that took their beloved pet, who made a bad decision
to leave home and roam the town.