Bison owners may have to pay for rescue efforts, lost business

 

By TIM DONNELLY

tdonnelly@islandpacket.com

843-706-8145

Published Saturday, May 24, 2008

 

No one will be charged or fined in connection with the escape of six bison in greater Bluffton, but a plan is in the works seeking compensation from the animals' owners for costs resulting from the episode, Bluffton Police Chief David McAllister said Friday.

 

The plan calls for the owners of the Graves family farm, where the bison were kept, to pay some of the costs of the failed rescue effort and reimburse businesses along Buckwalter Parkway that lost customers during the incident, McAllister said.

 

"They're being very cooperative," he said of the Graves family.

 

The bison escaped from the Graves farm at about 2 a.m. Thursday. They were shot and killed shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday after running through several places: The Island West golf course, Berkeley Place shopping center, the site of the future Publix grocery store on Buckwalter Parkway and the Woodbridge neighborhood.

 

The roaming animals disrupted traffic and businesses in the area for much of Thursday afternoon. They were pursued by riders on horseback and a construction company helicopter, but couldn't be corralled.

 

The 300-400 pound calves were euthanized after efforts to sedate them failed. Police worried the animals would pose a safety hazard as it began to get dark.