Thursday This & That ~ Let's Talk Bull (Again)

If you have read my blog for very long, you know that I am always "preaching" about bull safety. I am a proponent of Temple Grandin's methods of raising and keeping bulls and have referenced her article several times on this blog and many times in numerous other conversations. If you have not read Dr. Grandin's article, please do so by following this link.

The following article is an example of what can happen when bulls are not raised or handled correctly. Yes, even a bull that has been raised and handled correctly can become aggressive and dangerous, but one's chances of keeping a bull successfully increase when one follow the correct methods of raising them. As hard as it is not to play with them when they are young and cute, it is absolutely necessary. It is of utmost importance to make sure that the bull never becomes comfortable or familiar with his human handlers.

Harris County deputy recovering after being gored by bull

By CINDY HORSWELL

Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle

Nov. 16, 2010, 8:13PM
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Harris County Sheriff's Office
Harris County Sheriff's Sgt. James Dousay was in critical condition Tuesday.

Share Del.icio.usDiggTwitterYahoo! BuzzFacebookStumbleUponEmail Close [X]Sgt. James Dousay has dealt with some tough killers during his 21 years with the Harris County Sheriff's Office, but by far the roughest character that nearly claimed his life over the weekend was a 1,600-pound bull nicknamed Peanut, who repeatedly gored him in the groin.

Dousay underwent surgery at Memorial Hermann Hospital to reattach severed veins after he was attacked Sunday at his farm in Liberty County. The homicide sergeant, 44, remained in critical condition Tuesday but was showing improvement, his wife, Kimberly Dousay said.

About six years ago, the Dousays began raising miniature Herefords and Dexters as a hobby on their 10-acre Little Patch of Heaven Farm about 35 miles east of Houston . They are breeders and had about a dozen head, including three other bulls, as well as two goats in their pasture when the accident occurred.

"We are animal lovers and had a 'no eat' clause in the ones we sold," Kimberly said, recalling how other officers used to teasingly ask her husband if he was producing miniature steaks. "Ranchers are attracted to the miniatures for enjoyment, because you can grow 2½ more head per acre than they can with a full-size animal."

'Didn't back down'
Yet from a young age, Peanut, one of the miniatures, started to develop signs of aggression that they didn't notice in their other bulls.

She recalled how at first her husband treated Peanut "like a big puppy" as they played together by rolling a plastic trash receptacle back and forth between them.

"But then the bull started sending that trash can up in the air and taking that barrel out by goring it," she said. "Then a few times, the bull decided he was not done playing and charged my husband, nicking his legs. Still my husband is a tough guy and thought he always had it under control."

But Dousay learned he was wrong Sunday afternoon. The pair were repairing a hole in the pasture's fence from which a new calf had escaped when they noticed Peanut appeared agitated and was pawing the ground.

"Usually Peanut would get back if we waved a 4-foot steel rod at him, but this time he didn't back down," Kimberly said. "We think it was because we were interrupting his routine. He's very territorial and never liked us messing with his fence."

Peanut began charging at her husband from about 10 feet away, knocking him to the ground.

"Then he kept digging at him with his horns," said Kimberly, who was standing 200 feet away. "It lasted about a minute and a half but seemed like a lifetime. Finally the bull backed off, and I helped my husband limp into the barn and called for help."

Airlifted to hospital
Emergency workers say Dousay experienced a cardiac arrest in the ambulance and would have bled to death if he had not been airlifted to the Houston hospital.

Although still on a ventilator and unable to speak, James managed to reassure his wife by turning his head toward her and squeezing her hand, she said.

"It's amazing how well he's doing," said Dalton Gregory, spokesman for Tarkington Volunteer Fire Department which responded to the 911 call. "We literally had to replace all the blood volume in his body four times before he was flown to Houston."

Gregory has seen other bulls who "head butt" their owners, but these bulls have clipped horns and the only damage was usually to the owner's pride.

"We knew our bull had shown some signs of aggression," Kimberly said. "But my husband wanted to keep Peanut, because he was the first one that we got, But this time if he doesn't get rid of him, I will."

Harris County Sheriff Sgt. Curtis Brown and other officers were thankful Dousay survived this ordeal as he did once before when he had an on-duty motorcycle accident and had to be airlifted.

"He's a dedicated officer who works hard and loves his wife and two children," Brown said.

While Kimberly was raised on a horse farm, her husband was a city boy who had never raised farm animals until they got their miniatures. He now understands "you can't get out of their way fast enough," she said.

cindy.horswell@chron.com


After reading both Dr. Grandin's article and the article in the Huston Chronicle, are you able to see the mistakes that the handler made and the signs of aggression that were evident in this bull before the accident took place? It's serious business and almost cost this man his life.

Comments

Deb said…
I'd really love to have a bull, since we want several cows, cause having to catch when they are ready to be AI'd is not that easy. However bulls scare me and I'm not sure it's a good idea for us...although we have been wondering if we should keep one of the males we have born here as a bull. I'd kinda want to teach it to lead, but maybe thats not a good idea...hmmmm we have a decision to make here if we have another male from Mable in a month or two. Thanks for the bull posts, they are timely with our wondering if we should have one or not.

Guess I also worry about being able to continue having the cows AI'd with the way things are going in this country. That is the biggest reason I wonder if we should have a bull.