Where’s the beef? Still very much on the mooove in Rhode Island.
More than a month after escaping while being unloaded at a slaughterhouse, a 1,600-pound steer is still roaming the streets of Johnston, about 10 miles west of Providence.
Police said Wednesday in a Facebook post that although they’ve been keeping loose track of the steer’s whereabouts, they can’t chase it, so their goal is to keep it contained to wooded areas where it can’t endanger drivers or itself.
Officers posted a blurry nighttime photo of the bovine showing it on a residential street near a “Support Our Police” yard sign and said it appears to be healthy and well-fed.
“Though it appears in this picture that it backs the blue, the escaped Johnston cow is still on the lam,” police wrote. “Where now, brown cow? We have been actively tracking and monitoring the cow since its great escape. Help us bring this story to a good conclusion.”
On Feb. 4, after the animal first bolted when a wholesaler lost control of it outside Rhode Island Beef & Veal in Johnston, a startled Uber driver reported seeing it hoofing its way through an intersection as he was waiting for a traffic light to change.
It later was sighted in Providence, where local authorities contacted the Department of Environmental Management and animal control. Neither agency had the resources to capture and transport the animal, according to a police report.
Authorities are urging anyone who sees it to alert police and not attempt to corral it themselves.
"Stay clear of the steer,” they posted. “Please leave the capture to professionals."
The steer's story is similar to that of Frank, a bull who jumped off a slaughterhouse-bound truck in New York back in 2016. Frank was later rescued by former "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart and his wife, Tracey Stewart, and now lives on the Watkins Glen, New York, grounds of the nonprofit Farm Sanctuary.
In a statement to TODAY, a Farm Sanctuary spokesperson said that many times when a farm animal is found roaming the streets, the animal has "likely escaped a traumatic situation propelled by their strong desire to live."
"They are likely exhausted, hungry, and afraid," the spokesperson said. "They may also be severely distrustful of people since they have likely come from the animal agriculture industry, which treats animals like unfeeling commodities instead of the emotional beings they are. Chances are these courageous animals have been wandering with no access to shelter or food for days, weeks, or even months."
Since these factors can "make an animal react in unpredictable ways," the organization, which has rescued many wild and escaped animals, recommends that people not try to corral the animal themselves.
"Call local authorities or an animal rescue and be prepared to report the exact time and place they last saw the animal," said the spokesperson. "Your phone call can make the difference between life and death for these animals."