Slaughtered bull was SWFL family’s beloved pet

Reporter: Anika Henanger Writer: Melissa Montoya
Published: Updated:
Johnny the bull was killed for his meat. His carcass was discovered by the family who adopted him as their pet. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Johnny was an 1,800-pound dog.

That is how Alex Solenberg described the 4-year-old bull that was found slaughtered for its meat in a private pasture off of Shawnee Road on Wednesday.

“He was bottle raised from a calf,” Solenberg said. “He was loved like a pet.”

The bull was adopted with two others — Johnny, June and Carter —by the Solenberg family from another family who raised him as a pet. The family has hundreds of cattle that are not pets, but Johnny was different.

“He had the disposition of like an 1,800-pound dog,” Solenberg said.

That’s why the family believes it made him vulnerable to the person who came in and slaughtered the bull for its meat.

“He was raised as a pet,” Solenberg said. “That was what his purpose in life was supposed to be. As a pet. And his life was wasted, because of someone so selfish.”

Investigators with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said someone broke into the pasture near the intersection of State Road 82 and Daniels Parkway

The family is offering a $5,000 reward from their own pockets for anyone who may have information on who slaughtered the bull because they don’t want this to happen to another family. Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers is also asking the public for tips.

To make matters worse, the family’s 4-year-old was there when they found Johnny’s carcass.

“They actually both got out of the truck and walked up to feed the cows and she saw what happened,” Solenberg said. “Nothing that cruel should be seen by someone that young.”

Solenberg said the family went to the pasture to play with the herd two days before Johnny was slaughtered.

“They’re big gentle giants,” Solenberg said. “It was so sweet to watch her play with them”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 239-477-1000 or call Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 800-780-TIPS.

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