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Local law enforcement and residents alike were treated to a bizarre sight Friday afternoon as a male bison escaped from a gated field on Johnson Road and roamed his way to nearby businesses.
The bison kicked up quite a scene as he rumbled into the parking lot of the Five Star Food Mart off South Dixie Boulevard. One onlooker spotted the bison outside the gas station and briefly filmed its arrival, later posting the short clip on Facebook.
Radcliff Police responded to the scene and corralled the animal with the assistance of the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office and Hardin County road crew workers. A rope tied to to a truck was placed around the large animal as he slowly was led back up the hill to the field. On a few occasions, the animal stopped and refused to cooperate without some nudging.
Police on the scene said the bison briefly acted aggressive and attempted to ram a cruiser, though he had become docile by the time he returned home.
RPD spokesman Bryce Shumate said the bison was restrained shortly after it broke loose and did not injure anyone, nor was it injured.
“I’m just glad we got it (corralled) before it got hurt or someone else got hurt,” Shumate said.
Shumate said animals have a tendency to move when there is ice on the ground or the temperatures turn frigid, as they have been this week.
He was unsure how the bison escaped, saying it could have found a weak spot in the fence. Shumate said large animals such as bison and cattle enjoy rubbing against posts. If the posts are weak, he said, they can give way, leaving an opening.
The bison made it to around the hotels behind the store but did not pose an immediate danger to anyone, Shumate said, though there was some concern about him reaching the road and possibly being struck by a vehicle.
With small farms located around the city, the police department has been called on in the past to wrangle cows and pigs, Shumate said, laughing.
Ronnie Goodman, county road supervisor, was unaware of the bison’s escape but said his crews are not typically called on to assist with capturing stray animals, though it may happen if it occurs along a county road.
Shumate said his department has looked to several agencies in the past for assistance in retrieving animals, from the fire department to Nolin RECC.
“It’s just whoever is available to come help us,” he said.
About a year ago an emu was loose in Elizabethtown, crossing several roads and parking lots before it was shot by a police officer. Elizabethtown Police Department spokesman Virgil Willoughby at the time said no one wanted to shoot the animal — a flightless bird native to Australia — but officers and Hardin County Animal Control had tried several methods to apprehend the bird without success.
Animal Control Director Jerry Foley has experienced his share of encounters with exotic animals, telling The News-Enterprise in 2012 that he once came across a Bengal tiger sitting atop a minivan in Glendale. The owner received permission to transport the tiger through the state and stopped in Hardin County. When she offered the tiger some fresh air, it bounded out and ran loose.
Foley tamed the tiger by blowing the horn and opening the van doors, which led the massive cat to jump back in.
Foley was unavailable for comment Friday, so it was unclear where the bison ranks in terms of odd animal escapes.
Marty Finley can be reached at 270-505-1762 or mfinley@