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Owners track heifers until the cows come home

Call it spring break, or a bovine version of "Girls Gone Wild," but two nights out on the town seemed to be enough for Sally and Bessie, Black Angus heifers who went missing for three days.

David and Michele Socha got the 2-year-old heifers on Friday afternoon. Three hours later, the 750-pound animals had bucked the barricade at the small farm on Route 20A in Aurora and were on the loose.

"We try to raise a lot of our own food," explained David Socha, who is chief executive officer of the Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co. in East Aurora, adding that the family raises chickens, quail and turkeys.

They wanted to raise their own grass-fed beef, but bucking heifers "wasn't part of the plan," he said.

"It left a bad taste in our mouth," he said.

While they only had them for three hours, Socha's children named the animals Bessie and Sally.

Bessie and Sally took off in a circular tour of the "neighborhood," from Aurora to Wales, to Marilla to Elma, then back to Aurora and the Village of East Aurora. They wound up on Fillmore Avenue, which boasts small, older colonials, early Sunday afternoon.

"We were eating lunch today, and we got a knock on the door and our neighbor said, 'Don't leave your house, there's two Angus cows in your backyard,' " said Carrie Hayes.

Carrie, her husband, Kevin, and their children, Mary, 5, and Patrick, 4, ran to the back porch door to watch the showdown at the Fillmore Corral. They saw the heifers walk up on the back deck behind the garage near their pool.

But before they decided to settle down in the village, they led Socha and his children, Isaiah, 6, Hope, 5, and Micah, 2, on a merry chase in their six-seat utility vehicle. Michele Socha and Faith, 2 months, held down the fort at home.

They called East Aurora Police on Friday, and on Saturday the Sochas tracked them for about six hours. They got close on Two Rod Road, but they took off.

East Aurora Mayor Allan Kasprzak, a Buffalo police officer, got a call at work Sunday about cows roaming around the village. He ended up taking time off work to drive to the village to help look for them, only to look in his mirror and see one crossing behind him on Whaley Avenue as he headed toward Fillmore Avenue.

They had been reported walking on the train trestle in the village and officials had been chasing them for 3 1/2 hours. The pair hit the village around noon Sunday and were seen running through backyards on Girard Avenue and then checked out a nearby brook.

"These are two Town of Aurora cows. So apparently, they don't want to live in the town, and like the village better," Kasprzak quipped. "But we didn't want to see anybody get hit or run over."

Patrick Hayes wanted to know why they came to his house and why they picked his yard.

"They got lost," his mother told them. "They must have seen our swing set."

While these Angus kept police, firefighters and farmers hopping over three days, they were about done swinging Sunday when they walked into the Hayes' enclosed backyard and someone closed the gate.

One of Socha's neighbors backed a trailer to the Hayes backyard. They opened the gate, and Sally and Bessie ran into the trailer.

"It was kind of funny. They were going through yards. They were on the run for the weekend," the mayor said. "They just didn't want to get caught. They were having the time of their lives."

Socha said he takes full responsibility for the furlough, and decided not to keep them. He learned that Black Angus are more energetic and skittish, and may not be the best type of cattle to have around children in a barn.

But he's thankful to have met so many friendly, gracious neighboring farmers.

"All the area farmers, everyone we got in contact with, were very, very helpful. Everyone works together in that community," Socha said. "Nobody wanted any money, they just wanted to help."

News Staff Reporter Karen Robinson contributed to this story.