Bull Kills Farmer In Grottoes

Family Found Victim After He Failed To Return From Field

Posted: June 18, 2013

GROTTOES — A Grottoes man died after a bull on his farm trampled him Saturday.


Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson said Sam Saufley, 59, of Bingham Road, died at the scene.


Hutcheson said it appears Saufley went to work on his farm around noon. As darkness approached, family members became concerned and went to look for him.


“It was a very large farm … hundreds of acres,” he said.


When family members found Saufley around 8 p.m., an enraged bull was nearby. Hutcheson said the family had to shoot and kill the bull before they were able to approach Saufley.


He was officially pronounced dead early Sunday, according to family and an obituary that appears in today’s Daily News-Record.


Saufley was employed as an adult education supervisor and teacher at Valley Vocational Technical Center in Fishersville. He also co-owned the Dogwood Pet Lodge in Elkton with his fiancée, Brenda Jolly.


In 2004, he received a national conservation award from the Daughters of the American Revolution for his work planning the restoration of the Grandma Moses House in Verona.


Rare Incident


Hutcheson said investigators can’t recall a previous incident in the area where livestock have killed their caretaker.


“It’s extremely rare,” he said. “[Fatal] farm accidents themselves are fairly rare, but you do hear of them. [However], they usually involve machinery. It’s just a very tragic event.”

There were no fatal farm-related accidents in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County in 2012. This was the first in 2013.


There were 11 farm-related deaths in Virginia in 2012, according to the Virginia Farm Bureau. All were attributed to machinery.


Jimmy Maass, Virginia Farm Bureau safety manager, said bull attacks happen occasionally, but it’s unclear why the animals become enraged. He also said cows are known to attack when they feel their calves are in danger.


“I’ve heard people be attacked by them, but not killed,” he said.


In addition to Jolly, Saufley is survived by two sons, Erik H. Saufley of Harrisonburg and Nick E. Saufley of Bridgewater.


A memorial service will be conducted 7 p.m. Thursday at Weyers Cave Community Center.


Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or pdelea@dnronline.com

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