Bull runs free in Paterson
Monday, September 28, 2009
Monday September 28, 2009, 1:44 PM
PATERSON — A 1,400-pound bull took a several-block run down city streets this morning after escaping from a slaughter house, but he wasn’t able to elude his fate even after sending police on a half-hour chase.
The bull was being unloaded from a truck into ENA Meat Packing Inc. on East Fifth Street when he broke loose just before 8:30 a.m., said Paterson’s Chief Animal Control Officer John DeCando.
“Instead of him going into his cage, he went down East Seventh,” he said. “He was running rampant and was just exhausted.”
The driver of a cattle truck opened a side door to the truck to push the bull out the back of the vehicle, but the beast instead pushed back and was able to run out the door. He trotted from the slaughter house toward River Street with a crowd of meat packing workers chasing behind him.
“We were just trying to scare him back,” said Steve Moneusse who works at the plant.
The bull turned back toward the slaughter house at first, but then changed course and headed toward River Street. That’s when the workers grabbed a rope and police showed up.
The animal made it to Seventh Street where crowds of people in the Bunker Hill industrial area came out from a scrap yard and nearby factories to take pictures of the bizarre chase.
“Oh my god, I was scared,” said Steve Fostok who had dropped off metal at the scrap yard. “He was coming this way. He was running back and forth. It was very confusing for the cops. It could have killed me.”
At one point, the bull ran into a loading dock next to East Seventh Street Promotions factory, knocking over a garbage bin and running into cars.
“We walked to the window and saw the employees of the slaughter house trying to corral the bull, waving flags at it, waving their arms at it,” said Jeffrey Klein, the promotional company’s owner. “It was like the running of the bulls around here for an hour … He was probably scared he was going to be ground chuck.”
Slaughter house workers and police then tried to corral the beast cowboy-style, using a rope to lasso around the bull’s neck, but the animal dragged more than five officers and workers behind him like an extra large dog on a walk. Officers then tried to use their vehicles to block his path and corral him, but the beast kept maneuvering around cars.
Finally, police were able to wrap the rope around a light post in another area and DeCando was able to inject him with a sedative, which took about three or four minutes to kick in and knock out the animal.
“Police did a fantastic job corralling him,” DeCando said. “The adrenaline in that bull is unbelievable.”
Police were able to keep the bull in the industrial area, away from residential areas and schools; traffic was also light at the time.
“The main thing is nobody got hurt,” he said, adding that the bull was scared but not injured during his flight.
This was the third time in 34 years a bull has escaped in Paterson, DeCando said. One made it all the way into Hawthorne.
Goats, bears and many other types of unusual critters have run through the streets of Paterson, mostly escaped livestock from slaughter houses. Usually, DeCando is able to donate smaller livestock to a sanctuary run by Paterson fire Capt. Glen Vetrano in Sussex County.
However, yesterday’s bull was not as lucky. After he fell from the tranquilizer dose, workers put him on a wooden palette and drove him back to the meat packing company on a forklift.
Because the FDA requires all animals to be healthy and walk into a slaughter area — and because the beast was drugged — he was killed and thrown out, his body unable to be used for meat, workers said.
“That’s sad,” Klein said. “It’s watching something like that that makes you consider being a vegetarian.”
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