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And you thought the TV weather guys were having a cow about the snow ...
Police got an unexpected call amid the snowstorm that struck the region midday Friday when they were alerted to a Jersey calf being kept in a garage of a house on Humboldt Parkway.
They responded and also surprised some neighbors.
“I thought it was a drug raid,” said Keith Arnold, who was shoveling the sidewalk in front of his grandmother’s house a couple of doors down from where the animal was found when he noticed police cars and other official-looking vehicles circling the area.
He wandered over and saw police lugging something from the garage through the snow.
“I knew it was too heavy to be drugs,” Arnold said.
Only later did he learn that his grandma’s neighbors were keeping the bull calf in their garage as well as two chickens.
Another neighbor, who declined to give her name, said she was stunned to see animal control officers leading a brown calf to their van.
“A baby cow,” she questioned, “in the city?”
The woman pointed out that Buffalo residents are allowed to keep chickens in their yards but only if they get their neighbors’ consent and apply for a permit as well.
She said she didn’t believe the resident of the Humboldt house had taken any such steps.
She knows – and thinks most people do, too – that the city is no place for a large farm animal.
There was no answer Friday afternoon at the door of the home, located on the corner of Humboldt and Woepple Street.
The garage, a detached building to the rear of the house, had a boarded-up door. There was no obvious evidence that livestock was being kept there.
The SPCA was called in to help take care of the animal – a 2-month-old bull calf that has since been named Norman, said SPCA spokeswoman Gina Browning.
Authorities aren’t exactly sure what plans the calf’s owners had for it. “We’re getting conflicting stories,” Browning said.
The calf will be cared for over the weekend at the SPCA’s Town of Tonawanda facility, where a veterinarian was expected to give it a thorough checkup to determine whether it had been abused or harmed in any way. Animal control officers took the chickens. No charges were filed in the case.
Finding a calf on the East Side came as a surprise to many at the SPCA.
“I’ve been here 23 years,” Browning said, “and this is the first calf in a garage I’ve ever heard of. And I can say that with certainty.”