PIKESVILLE, Md. (AP)--Police officers in Baltimore County generally are not hired for their wrangling abilities.
So, officers had to come up with some ranch-hand tactics quickly April 26 when a herd of bison broke loose from a farm and meandered through suburban neighborhoods, frequently coming perilously close to major thoroughfares jammed with morning rush hour traffic.
The officers proved so adept that County Executive Jim Smith, with tongue somewhat in cheek, planned to present them April 27 with a poster designating them the Baltimore County Buffalo Brigade.
Police deployed a helicopter and more than a dozen cruisers to steer the trotting animals away from traffic and corral them onto a fenced tennis court in a residential community.
From the tennis court, officers on foot coaxed the bison--commonly called buffalo--onto a truck. That part of the operation proved a challenge. Officers using outdoor lounge chairs as shields formed a human chain to corral the beasts, but one buffalo was seen leaping over a net on the tennis court to evade capture. The last animal to be loaded was particularly stubborn and made a number of feints and charges before getting on the truck.
No one was injured and no property was damaged, police said. Police spokesman Shawn Vinson said April 27 that no charges were being pursued against the owner of the bison, Gerald "Buzz" Berg.
The animals came from Berg's farm in Stevenson, north of Baltimore. Berg, who owns a Baltimore demolition business, has raised bison on his 40-acre farm for about 10 years, mostly for meat.
He said he does not know how they escaped, although a week earlier three bison got out through an unlocked gate. On that occasion, the bison stayed close to the farm, Berg said.
Berg said April 26's escapade has dampened his enthusiasm for raising bison.
"The way I feel right now, I'm giving them all away," he said. "They're going to the slaughterhouse."