1025BUFFALOaudListen as Chris Nonnemaker of White County talks about finding a buffalo in his swimming pool Saturday morning.
Video: Watch Chris Nonnemaker’s video footage of removing the buffalo from his pool.
You pull open the swimming pool cover and expect to find water, and that’s about it, not an unhappy 1,000-pound buffalo splashing about.
Imagine Chris Nonnemaker’s surprise when that happened to him Saturday morning, standing with a couple of friends at his White County home.
“We were in shock,” he said in a Monday interview.
The ordeal began when Nonnemaker’s wife, Alison, noticed a couple of holes in the pool cover.
“I looked in the holes. There was nothing there; I figured something had fallen in and gotten out,” Chris said.
“I walked around the pool and when I got to the shallow side, the cover ... started jumping violently. It scared the daylights out of me.”
He then saw a huge hump through an opening and initially thought he was dealing with a bear. He called a couple of friends, “after my blood pressure dropped a little bit,” and they helped him slowly pull back the cover.
One of the friends announced, “Oh, there’s a cow under there.”
With the cover fully pulled back, the group saw that their visitor was, in fact, a buffalo.
“I just said, ‘Oh my God, where did this thing come from?’” Nonnemaker said. “It’s like opening your garage door and seeing a giraffe.”
Nonnemaker called his wife, Alison, who was out with their daughter getting her hair fixed for her school’s homecoming. He gave her the news, but “she didn’t believe me,” he said.
“She said, ‘No way. Quit lying.’”
To prove his story, he took a picture of the animal with his cell phone and sent it to her.
When he called the White County Sheriff’s Office, he learned that several buffaloes had “escaped from a house” near his Boca Hills Road home. Two had been found and returned to the owner, but one was still on the loose.
Sheriff’s deputies and the owner arrived at his house and, as a group, “we were trying to figure out how to get it out,” Nonnemaker said.
“We lassoed it around the horns and were pulling it, and it was fighting us big time,” he said.
“It couldn’t get a grip on the steps to come out, so I went into the garage and got some carpet ... and threw it in there, so (the buffalo) could get a grip.”
The carpet worked and the soggy buffalo emerged.
“He was not happy,” said Nonnemaker, who videotaped the ordeal and later uploaded videos to YouTube.
Will Loudermilk, the 3-year-old buffalo’s owner, said the animal “was breathing pretty hard ... and sounded like it had water in its lungs.”
“It was not doing too well and so, we went ahead and put it down,” he said “I took it to the processor; I don’t know if it can be eaten or not. ...I hate to waste it.”
At the time, Loudermilk was raising three buffaloes as a hobby but also to be sold as meat.
He’s not sure yet whether he will replace the lost buffalo, which went missing early last week.
“It’s been just a headache the past week,” he said.