A North Shore-based animal rescue group has managed to save two young calves before they were slaughtered at a New Jersey farm, and now the animals have found sanctuary with a Wading River farm.
Frankie Floridia, president of the nonprofit animal rescue group Strong Island Rescue, said he learned about one of the animals from being tagged in a Facebook post. The four-day-old calf was born in Amish country in New Jersey, but was to be sent off to slaughter to not waste the mother’s milk production. Floridia drove up there and learned there was another calf, roughly the same age, that they could also save from the slaughterhouse.
“The Amish had taken [it] away from its mother because it was a male, and they don’t need the calves — they don’t want to waste the milk they’re selling.,” he said.
Back on Long Island, Justin Bakewicz, a member of the family-owned Bakewicz farm in Wading River, had recently experienced a terrible loss. Bakewicz had purchased two, four-month-old calves in January. The health of one of them, named Bo Duke, started to fail. The family brought the calf to Jefferson Animal Hospital in Port Jefferson, and then brought him home and kept it in their kitchen while theyconnected him with an IV and gave him constant shots. Unfortunately, the calf passed away Feb. 8.
“It was a real big disappointment to me, my family and the community — everyone was a big part of it,” Bakewicz said.
Only a few days later, people started to tag the farm owner on the Facebook post about the calves Strong Island Rescue had saved. Bakewicz said his mother, Marianne, thought it might be too soon for new calves, but once he saw the scampering young Jersey bull calves he knew they were right for him.
“We heard that Bakewicz had a calf that passed away a couple days ago, and [Justin] was saying ‘it was like fate,’” Floridia said.
Bakewicz said the two young animals are full of energy.
“The two babies — they’re like puppies,” he said. “One is one week old he’s so full of Vitamin D and I turned around, and there was the other one. I said, ‘well I can’t say no. I got to take them both.’”
The farm owner has taken to raising the calves in his own house where he feeds them from large milk bottles three times a day. Bakewicz has even taken them out for walks.
“I’m walking these things like dogs,” Bakewicz said. “I walked them around my block today and every neighbor was sticking their heads outside going ‘what the hell is that I thought it was a Great Dane.’ Everybody in the neighborhood is excited to watch them grow.”
It will be another week or two of watching the young bulls grow large enough they can move out to the farm.
The farmer asked the community for suggestions of names, and it has settled on Buzz and Woody, after the movie “Toy Story.” The names were suggested by Christin Paparelli Santillo who will receive a free t-shirt.