After disappearing from his home on Sunday, Vinnie, a 14-year-old desert tortoise owned by Steve Cassaday of Independence, was found on Tuesday morning approximately a half-mile from where he started. Vinnie was located by Rick Main of Independence.
Cassady said, “I want to thank everyone who helped us find Vinnie – Rick Main, the local fire departments and their drones, the people on horseback, just everyone who helped us bring him home.”
Many people in the Independence area had been on the lookout for the beloved tortoise. Vinnie is a regular fixture at the Buchanan County Fair and is a welcome presence at several other area events throughout the year.
Cassady purchased him at a zoo auction 14 years ago. Vinnie was just a few inches long at the time. With the help of brothers Logan Duffy, 15, and Landon Duffy, 13, Cassady put the word out around the community about the missing tortoise.
According to Cassaday, tortoises can walk up to five miles per day. This was the first time Vinnie had spent the night – actually two nights – outside on his own. Cassaday has consulted a veterinarian who cares for exotic animals like Vinnie. Because Vinnie is a desert tortoise, the cooler overnight temperatures and high water due to above-average rainfall posed serious threats to his well-being. Getting Vinnie warmed up and rested are primary concerns right now.
Finding Vinnie is a testament to the way people in Buchanan County’s communities look out for one other. Twenty hours after putting Vinnie’s disappearance on the Bulletin Journal’s Facebook pages, 41 comments, 55 likes, and 264 shares about the tortoise’s status were recorded.