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'HERD DOCTOR' OFFERS $1,000 TO HELP NAB VANDALS

They call him the Herd Doctor. He's already donated tons of time to the "Herd About Buffalo" fund-raising project for Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the Burchfield-Penney Art Center.

Now he's offering some money, too.

Bill Wilson -- the Niagara Falls sculptor who has become the doctor to the wounded buffaloes all over town -- offered a $1,000 reward late Friday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever damaged the Bart Simpson buffalo in Niagara Square.

The Bart Simpson skateboarding figure atop the fiberglass bison was knocked off by vandals some time between 11 p.m. Thursday and 2:45 a.m. Friday. It was found later on lower Delaware Avenue.

Wilson explained why he's dipping into his pocket for the reward.

"This is a charitable thing," he said. "They're not harming the artist. They're harming the community as a whole."

Wilson knows all about Roswell Park as a worthwhile cause.

"My brother died of cancer, but I'm not thinking of him," he said. "I'm thinking of the little kids. That's all it takes."

Wilson sculpted two of the decorative bisons, the Elvis character in Niagara Square and the braces-wearing buffalo near the University at Buffalo Dental School on Main Street. He also created the Simpson figurine for the buffalo assaulted Friday.

That was the 16th wounded buffalo out of 150 roaming the streets.

Wilson knows what it's like to have his artistic creation damaged by unthinking vandals; the 4-foot-tall Bart Simpson figure was stolen in July, and the braces bison suffered the most serious damage when vandals smashed the two back legs, leaving one of them dangling.

It's like having someone walk into a museum and destroy a piece of art.

"It's really deflating," he said. "I was depressed and disgusted."

The Bart Simpson figure suffered more serious damage in the Thursday night attack than in the July attack. The damage figure probably tops $2,000, and "surgery" probably will last about a week. Wilson just shook his head about the number of defaced bison.

"I'm getting to the point where I'm concerned whether I can keep up with the repairs before the (Oct. 24) auction," he said.

Anyone with any information about the Bart Simpson vandalism may call Lt. Larry J. Baehre, the public information officer for the Buffalo police, at 851-4036.

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