ORRINGTON, Maine — Town officials have offered cattle farmer Herbert “Herbie” Henderson a compensation check for $2,700 for the meat of a renegade bull that was shot in August because it was damaging property and endangering residents.
Dale Henderson, son of the bull’s owner, demanded in an Oct. 27 letter that his father be reimbursed because he was not informed when the bull “was left to ruin,” after it was shot. The letter ended by stating that “we will proceed to sue the Town of Orrington” if an offer isn’t made.
While the town’s offer was made after selectmen met Nov. 10, Dale Henderson told selectmen during their meeting Monday that it “is not enough in this case.”
He did not say what would be sufficient, however, or whether his father would accept the compensation, but he did say he wanted the town’s animal control officer fired.
The town received at least 96 complaints about cows and bulls that had gotten loose between May and August, town documents say, and seven residents attended the Aug. 11 selectmen’s meeting to voice concerns about the renegade cattle.
The cattle reportedly caused about $5,400 in damage to nearby properties, and Herbert Henderson has compensated those landowners, Town Manager Carl Young said. But the town has not been reimbursed for renting fencing or the overtime expenses required to help Henderson round up his wandering cattle, according to town officials.
One of the larger animals, a 2-year-old bull, was shot on Aug. 23, nine days after a letter was sent to Henderson, informing him that police were directed to shoot any loose animals perceived to be a threat to the public.
At the next selectmen’s meeting, held Sept. 8, nearly 40 residents attended and at least 10 voiced their opinion that the shooting was justified.
Dale Henderson was at that meeting and called the shooting “a cruelty-to-animals action” done by “cowboy cops.”
Detective Franklin Jennings of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department investigated the bull shooting and his findings say, “There is nothing to suggest that the animal unduly suffered.” He said that the local deputy “made every attempt to kill the animal as quickly as possible using the tools he had at hand.”
Cattle have been escaping from the Henderson farm for years, and Herbert Henderson has been given animal trespass tickets for the at-large animals that date to at least October 1993, according to court reports printed in the Bangor Daily News.
Henderson, 78, was given citations during July and August for property damage and animal trespass.
His farm is near the junction of Dow Road and Center Drive, and nearly half of his 100 head of cattle recently have been sent to market to make the farm more manageable.
Henderson has obtained a restraining order against Young, so Young declined to make a statement about the situation but did provide a Nov. 3 summary report of the actions taken by the town regarding the wayward animals.
“This serious and regrettable situation was the direct result of the Henderson Farm owner’s failure to provide sufficient feed and adequate facilities for their animals coupled with an inexplicable reluctance to make a concerted effort to round-up and remove their cattle from the property of others,” the report says.