Updated 9:35 p.m. ET
At times, it sprinted. At others, it stood still, seeming to weigh how best to elude New York City police. For more than an hour Tuesday, a runaway bull kept its dreams of freedom alive — until officers managed to capture it in Queens. And it got worse from there.
“It was at least the third loose cow or bull in Queens in the last 14 months,” New York’s Channel NBC 4 TV reports.
Before we continue, we’ll acknowledge that some news outlets initially referred to the animal as a cow. But most have since agreed that it is a bull. Someone even started a Jamaica Bull account on Twitter, named after the Jamaica, Queens, neighborhood where the escape took place.
With its exploits being live-streamed from helicopters and elsewhere Tuesday, the wily bovine caused a stir on social media as it squeezed out of tight spots (literally: at least twice, the animal pushed through vehicles that threatened to corral it).
Vladimir Vilsaint, a witness who said he was on his way to work when he caught the “unbelievable” sight of a bull running loose in the street, also spoke of the animal’s otherwise lawful ways, stating, “But I want to acknowledge that it followed traffic laws by adhering to the one way sign.”
The bull showed no regard for police officers’ yellow warning tape; as it jogged away from dozens of response personnel, what looked to be a handful of tranquilizer darts could be seen dangling from its side.
“It escaped from a slaughterhouse on Jamaica Avenue,” CBS 2 New York reports. “A butcher told [CBS 2 reporter Ali Bauman] they were moving a large group of those cows and he believes this one may have heard a noise got scared and escaped through the fencing.”
You might recall that last April, comedian Jon Stewart came to the rescue of another bull in Jamaica, after the animal broke out of the food chain and took refuge at York College. Stewart moved the animal to a shelter he owns in Watkins Glen, N.Y.
At one point Tuesday morning, the bull trotted peaceably behind a cyclist — who nonetheless decided to make a sharp right turn out of the animal’s path.
A cellphone video that was taken as a vehicle approached the head of the pursuit showed the bull surprise two workers with its agility, as the large animal burst around the corner of a police SUV to send them scrambling out of its way.
As the pursuit wound down, the cow led a slow convoy of police and emergency vehicles through residential streets. That’s when the rogue animal finally seemed to tire, panting from the exertion of eluding the authorities. When it finally stopped under a tree in a home’s back yard, workers moved in to bring it under control.
“A crew from an animal sanctuary picked up the animal and is taking it to a safe place,” ABC 7 reports.
But a spokeman for the sanctuary says the bull died before reaching the facility.