NEWFANE, N.Y. (WIVB) — There’s beef between farmers and a local animal sanctuary in Niagara County, New York.

Earlier this month, two cows found their way to Asha’s Farm Sanctuary in Newfane, according to owner Tracy Murphy.

Scott Gregson, who owns McKee Farms just down the road, said the cows are his, but the sanctuary does not want to give the cows back.

“How could anyone expect that we would hand over the animals when we feel we’re in our legal right, right now, to hang on to these animals?” Murphy told WIVB. “And we’re a sanctuary. We don’t want to hand over these animals that are going to go into slaughter.”

The dispute is upsetting local farmers who are demanding Asha’s Farm Sanctuary release the beef.

(Credit: Sarah Minkewicz/WIVB)

“It should’ve been given back to the owner,” said Nancy Fawcett, who owns a nearby farm. “Other people have had cows or horses get loose and people make sure they get back where they belong and stuff, and why she kept them, beyond me. That just didn’t make any sense; that’s not what you do.”

“I hope it teaches people a lesson not to mess with farmers,” Ed Petitt said while holding a sign in front of the sanctuary. “I’ll tell you that much. This is ridiculous. This is people’s livelihood, it’s food on the table. It’s food to feed their families. This isn’t right.”

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“Nothing against her, what she does, her business, and what she chooses to do for the good of injured and helping other animals. But in this case, she’s stolen two cows and she needs to give them back to the rightful owner,” said Laurie Andrews-Skinner, who lives in the neighborhood.

Gregson said he could not comment on the case while police investigate but said he is thankful for people’s support.

“It really means a lot to us. This is a very stressful time for our family right now with what we’re going through, and I just can’t thank them enough,” Gregson said.