Chinese water buffalo euthanized after animals get loose in east Charlotte; owner charged

Three buffaloes escaped Friday afternoon; their owner must remove them from the county or harvest them into food.
Water buffalo on the loose in an east charlotte neighborhood owner was cited for incident
Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 9:54 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A trio of Chinese water buffaloes got loose in east Charlotte this past weekend, one of which had to be euthanized, officials confirmed.

According to CMPD Animal Care and Control, officers received a call around 4:45 p.m. on Friday, June 30 about three buffaloes that escaped their trailer near Leesburg Road and Hollyhouse Drive.

“They did not stop. He did not take a break. They all just keep running running running running running they do not stop they don’t rest they don’t lay down,” said Animal Control Officer Raven Vergara.

An animal control officer was able to capture the buffaloes and put them into a livestock trailer their owner was towing.

Once in the trailer, one of the buffaloes was spooked and ran back out of the trailer.

“We were so close when when we when we got the two in that backyard. I was like, ‘Alright, we got it in the bag,’” recalled Ravenwood Neighborhood Resident Jack Terrell who spent hours alongside his neighbors helping corral the buffalo.

Several animal control officers worked for hours to corral the buffalo, but were unsuccessful.

At 6:30 AM, a new shift of three Animal Control Officers, an Enforcement Supervisor, CMPD Patrol and a member of SWAT took over attempts to corral the buffalo. The animal eventually became contained in a ball field at Albemarle Road Elementary School, three miles from the neighborhood, on Saturday morning.

Animal control said the buffalo became increasingly aggressive, and after causing significant damage to the owner’s truck and charging a person, it was determined that the animal had to be euthanized--an end Animal Control uses as a last resort.

“If he were to run over someone, toss someone, things like that, it’s bad you know, like so this isn’t a cow either something a little bit, you know, bigger, stronger, doesn’t think like a cow. But if he were to make it to the highway or something like that, I mean, he could have you know, unfortunately killed a lot of people. And also, you know, his end result would have been getting hit by a car. You know, something even worse,” explained Vergara.

The owner of the buffaloes was given a uniform citation by CMPD, and was charged with Restraint of Animals, Attacking Animals, a No Permit charge, and a Nuisance charge totaling $225 in fines.

Animal Control said Chinese water buffalo are illegal to own in North Carolina and the owner has two choices: move the remining two buffalo to an area where they are not considered “exotic” animals like they are in Mecklenburg County or harvest them into food.

Related: Gaston County Animal Care and Enforcement respond to reported wallaby in neighborhood