The Grand County Sheriff’s Office shot and killed a water buffalo when officials were called to an area on Spanish Valley Drive on Saturday, Nov. 3, on reports that the animal was causing property damage and creating a danger to people and horses near Beeman Road.
Grand County Sheriff Steven White said that it wasn’t the first time the 7-year-old water buffalo had been reported to authorities after escaping from its corral.
“We’ve taken two or three reports on it over the last couple of weeks,” White said. “But this time … it stirred a bunch of horses up, causing one of the horses to break out. The water buffalo got out and during the course of it being out, it actually chased some people.”
No people were injured during the water buffalo’s escape, White said, but the horse that had broken out was euthanized because it reportedly tripped and fell, hitting a culvert.
The damage to properties and other animals in the area is still being investigated, he said.
White said that he and seven deputy sheriffs, including one from San Juan County, and local veterinarian Len Sorensen spent two or three hours at the scene on Spanish Valley Drive after the report was called in at approximately 7:15 p.m.
“When they kind of got (the water buffalo) back in containment, we met with the owner and had no way to move it, no way to sedate it, so we decided for public safety that we put it down,” White said.
The water buffalo’s owner had installed an electric fence to contain the water buffalo, but White said it didn’t stop the nearly 3,000-pound animal, which “went where it wanted, when it wanted.”
White said it’s the first water buffalo that he has seen in Grand County. He said the water buffalo had been purchased in Spanish Fork by its owner when it was a calf and was raised on the property on South Spanish Valley Drive.
Officials did not have the tranquilizers or equipment necessary to tame the water buffalo. Had the water buffalo been tranquilized, there was no place to contain it to prevent it from escaping again, and with the concern that it was likely to escape again, the veterinarian and the animal’s owner recommended that it be killed.
“It’s sad two animals had to be put down,” White said. “It was showing more and more aggressive tendencies, so I was really worried somebody was going to get hurt. The owner agreed.”
“We decided for public safety that we put it down.”
After escape, animal reportedly chased people and riled horses