MCSO investigating buffalo deaths at Cave Creek business

Posted: Updated:
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

CAVE CREEK, Ariz. -- The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is investigating after two buffalo died within a week at the Hogs 'N Horses saloon and arena in Cave Creek.

Harvey Wallbanger Jr. died on July 2. He was 9 years old and weighed 2,600 pounds. Freedom, who was 4 years old and 700 pounds, died Monday.

"You lose two family members in the same week and you think that something could have happened to them that shouldn't have, you'd be upset," said bar owner and buffalo wrangler Collin "T.C." Thorstenson.

He has been performing with Harvey Wallbanger Jr. for 40 years.

"They had diarrhea. I think they ate something or drank something that they shouldn't have, that they was not exposed to on the property. Something got to them," he said.

They stayed outside the arena in an animal pen at Hogs 'N Horses, Thorstenson's new bar in Cave Creek. He says that since the deaths, PETA has been complaining about his work. He invites anyone to come see how he treats his animals and told 3TV they eat better than he does.

Thorstenson says he does have two more buffalo that he's training at his house, but they are too young and not ready to perform.

Thorstenson is missing the star of his show.

"When you see them being born from birth and you feed them on a bottle for a year, and then you train them for years, they become family," said Thorstenson.

He says he does not have insurance on any of his animals.