HOT SPRINGS, AR – Neighbors were outside greeting each other on Thursday like it was a normal block party, but this party had some uninvited guests.
“Now I can say I have a home where the buffalo roam,” said resident David Myers.
Since early Thursday morning, a heard of six bison were roaming neighborhoods in the Lakeside area of Hot Springs. When Myers heard what was in his front yard, he left work early to see for himself.
The Hot Springs Police Department (HSPD) says the buffalo got an early start, escaping from a farm off Shady Grove Road around 4 a.m. Thursday.
“Apparently they were up here about 7 a.m. and they must have liked it because they came back at about 2 o’clock,” Myers said.
One of the herd was slightly injured when it was hit by a car. The driver was not injured. The animal was expected to be okay.
When police first got the call, they thought it was a hoax.
Without much experience with roaming American buffalo, the department called in others to help like Benton Animal Services and even the Little Rock Zoo.
“We have been working with buffalo all day long,” said Corporal Sonia Luzader with the Hot Springs Police Department.
To get the massive 2,000 pound beasts to stop running free, they used tranquilizer darts. The HSPDH says the darts didn’t hurt the animals, just stopped them in their tracks.
But for this neighborhood, roaming buffalo was something new.
“We are used to deer and foxes and a few years ago some mountain lions, but never had buffalo,” Myers said.
According to a post at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on the City of Hot Springs Facebook page, two of the buffalo were still on the loose.. The post also stated the following: Regular patrols by local authorities will continue until the final two are secured. The owner is asking residents to stay away from the buffalo if sighted and to notify the Hot Springs Police Department by calling (501) 321-6789.