New Britain's stray steer sent to sanctuary

Published on Wednesday, 23 January 2019 20:58
Written by Skyler Frazer


NEW BRITAIN - A lost steer has been rescued from New Britain’s woods and is on its way to an animal sanctuary in Western New York.

The steer, repeatedly referred to as a cow online, was discovered on New Britain watershed property a few days before New Years. Its appearance spawned countless cow-themed puns including “Moo Britain” and “Experience the Moo.” The animal was popular on Facebook, with concerned citizens nicknaming the supposed cow “Cowtarina.”

After weeks of keeping tabs on the steer, now named “Finn,” Animal Welfare Commission Chairwoman Paula Poplawski started contacting animal shelters and sanctuaries in the state. Having little luck, Poplawski was referred to Farm Sanctuary by Jennifer Wynn, president of CT Votes for Animals.

Farm Sanctuary is an animal rescue and protection agency that has shelters in California and New York.

Following coordination between several city departments and Farm Sanctuary, motion cameras, a makeshift pen and a feeding station were set up on the watershed property Tuesday afternoon to help locate the steer and lure it out of hiding. Initially, Farm Sanctuary representatives though the rescue effort would take multiple days.

“We’ve rescued cattle in the woods before and it usually takes longer than just one day,” said Tara Hess, shelter director at Farm Sanctuary’s Watkins Glen, N.Y., shelter.

But, when Hess’s team returned to the site to pick something up Tuesday night, the team discovered Finn in the pen and near the trailer. With a little effort, Finn was herded into the trailer.

“It really just felt like he was ready to go,” Hess said.

Now, Finn is on his way to Cornell University’s Large Animal Hospital for a checkup. Following a few days there, Finn will continue his journey to Watkins Glen. The 271-acre sanctuary is home to more than 500 rescued farm animals, according to Farm Sanctuary.

“We are relieved, exhausted and extremely happy,” Poplawski said of the resolved situation.

Mayor Erin Stewart said Poplawski made it her duty to bring hay and water to the site every night and morning until the steer was located.

“This was a big effort, but it was the resources from Farm Sanctuary that really made it possible, because this is what they do,” Stewart said.

The steer escaped from a trailer in December after being bought for slaughter at auction. Stewart said the city located the owner, who signed over the steer to the city.

“The chapter on Moo Britain is closed,” Stewart said Wednesday.

Poplawski said it was inspiring seeing so many groups coming together to save the steer. She said it seemed grateful, even giving Wynn a kiss.

“I’ve never, ever been a part of something so magnificent,” Poplawski said.

Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Wednesday, 23 January 2019 20:58. Updated: Wednesday, 23 January 2019 21:00.