Eleven calves had been purchased by a man looking to raise them for cheap beef. Males born to dairy cows are regarded as useless by milk producers and sell at livestock auctions for only a few dollars each when they are just a few days old. Even spending so little to acquire these baby boys, their new owner would not pay the few dollars it would have taken to provide them with needed medical care. You see, the calves had contracted pneumonia and their health was quickly dwindling. For all 11 calves, it would have cost approximately $20 to provide proper treatment. However, the purchaser decided instead to shoot the young bulls. By the time authorities intervened, he had already killed six of them. This man was arrested, but not for animal cruelty – he had violated his probation by discharging a firearm.
As soon as the surviving calves could be confiscated, the local SPCA contacted us and we rushed to the scene. As we stood at the door of a dank and fetid barn, the flashlights of SPCA agents played over the faces of the five calves who had escaped the brutal fate of the others, peering out at us from the darkness. Going in to gather them, we found the young animals unfed and severely underweight. Their milk replacer was moldy. Their pneumonia had become severe, and they were dehydrated. We drove them all straight to Cornell University Hospital for Animals, arriving at 2:00 a.m.
At the hospital, the calves received ultrasounds to determine the extent of their pneumonias and were started on IV antibiotics and fluids. Though some struggled to overcome the ailments caused by cruel neglect, all are now home at our New York Shelter. We named them Arnold, Tweed, Conrad, Milbank, and Orlando.
Arnold, the oldest and strongest, was able to come home to the shelter right away. Here he received antibiotics for his pneumonia while waiting for his pals to join him.
Tweed, in addition to his severe pneumonia, suffered from emaciation, an umbilical hernia, Bovine Papular Stomatitis, ringworm, and giardia. He stayed for five days at Cornell, where his belly was wrapped daily to help the hernia close without surgery. His treatment continues at our shelter, where he is still the shyest of the calves. In the comforting presence of his adored friend Arnold, however, Tweed is gradually coming out of his shell.
Conrad arrived at Cornell emaciated. He had been starving to death. The little calf also had a cough and ataxia (trouble with coordination, often causing his legs to slip out from under him). After three days of treatment and observation, however, his neurological symptoms dissipated, and he too was able to come home. Conrad is the tiniest of the boys and also the sweetest.
Milbank, though taller than Conrad, was also emaciated, and he suffered from hypoglycemia, severe dehydration, and sinus arrhythmia. He too remained at the hospital for three days before coming home to continue his convalescence. Like Tweed, he is a shy boy, but we expect that he will soon come into his own.
Orlando too stayed three days at the hospital. His pneumonia was the most severe. Like Tweed, he was infected with giardia, and he also required tests and observations for his pendulous abdomen. His spirits, however, have remained irrepressible. The goofiest of the calves, he loves to play and be silly. He is best friends with Conrad, and both adore Sonny, another calf rescued this year, with whom they now live.
Arnold and his friends did not have a very good beginning, disregarded by the dairy industry and neglected by an owner who thought of them as mere commodities. Yet their story now has a happy ending here at our shelter. Like Arnold, Tweed, Conrad, Milbank, and Orlando many of the animals we rescue from neglect and abuse require extensive emergency medical treatment. Please help us ensure that animals in desperate need can be saved and rehabilitated at one of our sanctuaries by donating to our Emergency Rescue Fund today.