Cow safe at sanctuary after escaping Brooklyn slaughterhouse, running amok

NEW YORK CITY —The runaway cow captured the attention of thousands of people as he escaped a slaughterhouse and evaded capture. Now he is safe at an animal sanctuary in New Jersey, according to WPIX.

Around 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, the dark brown steer - as a castrated bull is called - escaped from a Brooklyn slaughterhouse, according to police.  The steer was spotted running up Coney Island Avenue near Cortelyou Road, as well as on 17th Street and a variety of other locations.

According to one tweet, the steer bumped into a toddler, prompting a call to FDNY medics.  Eventually, the bovine ended up in a fenced soccer field in the Parade Grounds section of Prospect Park.  It allowed NYPD officers to slowly corral the steer.

"First they tried to catch the cow in the soccer goals, and that didn't work," said Hillary Dovel, who lives half a block from where the steer ended up, and who live streamed the rescue attempts on the Citizen app.  "Then they tried to corral it with one car, but you know that doesn't work.  You just end up going in circles."

"It's been an entertaining morning," Dovel concluded.

Responding officers from an emergency services unit used at least one tranquilizer dart to sedate the animal, and other officers penned him in between two NYPD SUVs, with the fence and a stationary park bench serving as the other two sides of the four-sided pen.

There the steer remained for about a half hour until officers trained in large animal capture arrived.

Meanwhile, about 120 or so spectators watched, recorded on their phones and commented.

"It's not every day you see a cow in Prospect Park," said Steve Espinola, a local resident, who was recording the steer and his rescue on a smartphone.

For every person on scene watching, there were hundreds watching online, and commenting there.

"They scaring the poor cow," Barbara Rigable wrote while watching the situation on the PIX11 News Facebook page.

"They don't know.  They are not from Texas," Evelyn Sanabria responded.

"I wanted steak for dinner," wrote Marcel Black. "But looking at this poor cow, please save him and return back to where he came from."

He, and most people watching online and in person, got their wish.

Local animal activists coordinated with NYPD community affairs officers and came up with a solution.

"I think they did a pretty good job," said Mary Beth Artz, a Brooklyn animal rights advocate.  She and other activists connected the NYPD with their network of animal sanctuary operators.  Mike Stura, who runs the Skylands Sanctuary and Animal Rescue in Wantage, North Jersey, came to collect the animal after ESU officers managed to get a rope around its neck and lead it into an NYPD horse carrier.

"The whole day I hoped it would escape," said Dovel, the neighbor who'd recorded the corralling and rescue from the very beginning.  "Sanctuary is even better."

Agreeing with her was Artz, the animal rights advocate.  "This could also bring attention to the animals in slaughterhouses who aren't as lucky," she told PIX11 News.  She said that the as-yet unnamed steer is better off than all other meat cattle, thousands of which are slaughtered in Brooklyn yearly.  They "won't have a beautiful sanctuary to go to, like this beautiful bull will," she said.