After 30 days of roaming around High Ridge and Byrnes Mill, a small zebu steer named Zacheus is safely home.
“My husband (James) and I were starting to lose hope,” said Lynn Fozzy, 43, of High Ridge.
Fozzy said her family adopted Zacheus as a rescue pet in June. The animal is about 1 year old and weighs approximately 120 pounds, and looks like a miniature cow.
She said he went missing July 11 and came home on Saturday.
She said she bought Zacheus, who will remain small, for $200 at a horse auction in Farmington. At the time, he looked malnourished and sick.
Fozzy said she started nursing him back to health, but he got out of an open gate on July 11.
“We tried to catch him and it spooked him into the woods,” she said.
Fozzy said she didn’t see Zacheus for five or six days, but then spotted him in a wooded area behind some houses in Byrnes Mill. She couldn’t catch him, though.
She said she used a number of meth¬ods – tracking Zacheus on horseback, enlisting the help of herding dogs, drones and more.
Eventually, Fozzy said, Zacheus was caught in a pen her husband set up in a wooded area in Byrnes Mill. The pen was stocked with food and when the zebu entered, a tripwire closed the pen.
“We weren’t giving up,” she said. “We don’t give up on our animals.”
Fozzy said she was worried that when deer season arrived in the fall, Zacheus might be mistaken for a deer, especially since he’d been spotted with a group of seven deer during his adventure.
“That was a huge weight off our minds when we finally caught him Sat¬urday,” she said.
Once home, Zacheus got a bath and was put on lockdown so he doesn’t get out again.
“He just looked so peaceful, like he hadn’t slept in a while,” Fozzy said.
She said she is grateful to all the numerous people who helped search and called in tips, and to the Byrnes Mill Police Department, which also helped.
“It really gave us a new sense of community,” she said.
Fozzy said her neighbor, Valerie Burks, spent hours hanging signs and searching and posting on social media about Zacheus.
Tammy Gorges used her herding dogs to search and was formulating new plans to catch the zebu when the story got its happy ending.
Fozzy also thanked Byrnes Mill homeowner Veronica McGee, who al¬lowed pens to be set up on her property.
She said Zacheus is afraid of people, making it hard to lure him in. She said she had been working to domesticate him since the auction.
“He was super skinny and was full of ticks,” she said.
Fozzy said Zacheus also had an infection when she brought him home.
She said it wasn’t easy working with him at first.
“He charged my shin bones for the first several days,” Fozzy said.
However, he started warming up.
“He was eating great out of your hand and he was healing up,” she said.
Fozzy said a petting zoo has shown interest in adopting Zacheus after he is rehabilitated.
“If my husband (James) doesn’t fall in love with him, he will be going to the petting zoo,” she said.
Fozzy said two years ago she rescued her first mini horse, and has rescued oth¬ers since then.
“I just have a heart for those animals; I can’t explain it,” she said.
Fozzy said she used to work as a vet¬erinary technician, but now stays at home.
“My husband and I both have a heart for it (rescuing animals),” she said.
Fozzy said Zacheus was the first cow she rescued. “We’ve never come out on the good end (financially), but we love what we do,” she said.