FELLSMERE — She’s brown and white. She is about three months old. And she spent nearly two hours running away from police and community members early Tuesday.
“She’s in a lot of trouble right now,” Owner Emily Domagtoy said of ‘Baby Lucy,’ a calf who evaded officials twice on Tuesday. “She’s a spunky little firecracker. She is full of life…and trouble.”
A city worker spotted Lucy, who weighs a couple hundred pounds, running about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday across the baseball field at Senior League Park in south Fellsmere, police Chief Keith Touchberry said. The worker followed Lucy until the calf wandered into a private yard in the 100 block of Myrtle Street.
Police posted pictures of the calf to the social network Facebook in an attempt to find the owner, Touchberry said. Domagtoy arrived in a pickup truck soon after; she and six others tried to lure Lucy in a trailer attached to the pickup.
Police also called in an employee from Fellsmere Feed Tack-Farm Supply to try and lasso the calf. But, before the worker arrived, Lucy ran and jumped over the 4-foot chain linked fence, creating a second chase.
Domagtoy said the chase was not how she planned to spend her morning.
“We had a police escort and cowboys following us with lassos,” Domagtoy said. “It wasn’t just a matter of trying to find her. You got anywhere near her and she started running.”
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Guess how our morning is going? We have been following Chief Touchberry and other units of the Fellsmere police Dept all around town chasing baby Lucy, who escaped this morning. They finally confined her in the Fellsmere rodeo grounds. She is currently resting and hanging out with 5 huge bulls. We may let her stay there for a bit until she calms down and then have some cowboys round her up for us. We may actually leave her a day or two because she was that wound up. She must have run at least 20 miles today. A special shout out and thank you to all the people who helped us out this morning but especially Chief Touchberry, who coordinated the whole operation. When it comes to animals, the Fellsmere police department is the best. Chief Touchberry has always helped us take care of many different animals, from cats and dogs to horses and cows. We will definitely keep you updated on this. Van & I are currently on our way to the auction to make sure Momma Lucy’s legacy doesn’t miss a minute. Keep us in your prayers please. 💕❤️🙏🏻Emily
Posted by Baby Girl Horse Rescue & Veteran Therapy Ranch on Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Officers, Domagtoy and community members followed Lucy around the city. She traveled north on south Myrtle Street, across County Road 512, north on North Oleander Street and to the New York Avenue intersection.
“Everyone just stayed on it,” Touchberry said.
Lucy made her way to South Willow Street. There, residents were able to guide the calf into the Fellsmere Riding Club, located off 99th Street, Touchberry said.
Once Lucy wandered into the property, at least 20 acres, community members locked the gate behind it. Touchberry said it will be Domagtoy’s responsibility to remove the calf from the rodeo grounds and transport it back to her ranch.
“We won’t pick her up until it is safe to do so,” Domagtoy said. “We just need her to calm down for a little while.”
‘Baby Lucy’ a rescue calf
Domagtoy is the president of Baby Girl Horse Rescue & Veteran Therapy Ranch located in unincorporated Fellsmere. The nonprofit has a program called Operation Milk Drops, which aims to save dairy cows and baby calves from auctions for slaughterhouses.
Lucy was one of those rescued animals, Domagtoy said. The saved animals are brought to the ranch and used as therapy animals for veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or as pets for families.
Domagtoy picked up Lucy and an adult female cow Monday from the Okeechobee Livestock Market auction. Lucy was named after the adult cow Lucille, who died while being transported to the ranch.
“They were headed to the slaughterhouse,” Domagtoy said. “Lucy looked scared and out of place. She was a straggler.”
Baby Girl Horse Rescue & Veteran Therapy Ranch has a variety of animals, including horses, cows, donkeys, lamb, chicken, ducks and wild mustangs, Domagtoy said. Domagtoy and Van DeMars were inspired to form Operation Milk Drops about a year and a half ago after Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) conducted an undercover investigation into animal cruelty at Larson Dairy farm in Okeechobee.
ARM is the same animal recovery group that conducted undercover investigations of animal cruelty in May at Black Cloud farm in Fellsmere. The Sheriff’s Office previously said two men in the undercover video footage could possibly face charges if identified.
Domagtoy and DeMars remain dedicated to Operation Milk Drops, which has a founding mission verse from the Jerusalem talmud that states, “Whoever saves one life, saves the entire world.” In a Facebook quote, DeMars said, “These tiny milk drops don’t make any difference in the big scheme of things, but to those few cows we can intercept, and the people who love and care for them at our ranches, it makes all the difference in the world.”
This story will be updated.