Buffalo Carcasses Worry Residents
LEESBURG, Va. (WUSA) -- Unsuspecting golfers at the 17th hole have been putting next to decaying buffalo.
Nearby residents of the Rasberry Falls community in Leesburg say a jogger discovered seven buffalo carcasses rotting on the Wright family farm, which is next to the community and the golf course.
They found bones that have been there even longer.
Karen Saunders lives in Rasberry Falls and says, "My initial reaction was fear."
Loudoun County Health Director Dr. David Goodfriend says, "The issue with the county's perspective is you shouldn't have animals decaying in sight of others off the property."
Loudoun County Animal Control removed the carcasses Thursday afternoon after several complaints about the dead animals and say they were too far gone to test for disease. They say the decaying animals pose no risk because the rest of the buffalo population looked healthy.
The residents say the most concerning part is the rotting buffalo are next to a stream that flows down a drain.
Goodfriend says there is no threat to the water: "We're very concerned with contamination. We found there wasn't anything we saw that points to any risk."
That conclusion isn't good enough for residents who are on communal well water.
Saunders says, "Everything on top of the soil quickly within minutes, hours and days will seep into our wells. So when you see rotting carcasses you think bacteria, viruses."
The county is aware of the resident's delicate water system at Rasberry Falls. Loudoun County Water Authority says the communal well water sits on limestone, porous rock that acts as a poor filter for natural water.
Residents have been fighting the county for years to get on central water and say this is another example of putting them at risk.
The county tests the well water every week, and this week it's been given the all clear.
The farm owner, Andrew Wright, released this statement to 9NEWS NOW: "This has been a challenging season with the livestock, and I apologize for any discomfort I have caused my neighbors; it won't happen again."
Wright says he believes the buffalo died during the harsh winter.
The farm owner was not cited, but the county says you should either bury or compost dead animals.
If you are found in violation of this ordinance, it's a class three misdemeanor if decaying animals are offensive to the public. It carries up to a $500 fine.
Written by Surae Chinn
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com