A 1,600-pound bull en route to a farm in Frederick County escaped from a truck Wednesday and spent several hours on the loose in West Baltimore before three tranquilizer shots and a crew of zoo officials brought him back into captivity.
Owner Scott Barao said the bull must’ve been agitated in the back of the truck and hit the door “just right” at a red light. His wild run began a little after 3 p.m.
About three hours later, as a crowd from the neighborhood watched, the animal was shot with tranquilizers after attempts to corral him in a field right off Coppin State University. Maryland Zoo employees joined police to help keep bull away from people and get him onto a truck.
“The owner of the bull said he doesn’t have the best disposition,” Baltimore Police spokeswoman Detective Nicole Monroe said.
Police said no injuries were reported.
The bull is the third this year, and at least the seventh since 2014, to make a run for freedom in West Baltimore.
Most of the escapes have been traced to the former George G. Ruppersberger & Sons slaughterhouse at 2639 Pennsylvania Ave., which is now owned by Old Line Custom Meat Co., based on Monroe Street in Southwest Baltimore.
But this one is a purebred angus breeding bull from Hedgeapple Farm in Buckeystown. Barao, the farm’s executive director, thanked officers for their restraint in dealing with the “expensive” animal.
“They could’ve shot that bull two hours ago and been done with it,” he said after the bull was safely back in a truck. “He’s extremely valuable to us and we’re just glad to have him alive.”
After being sighted running down North Avenue, the animal made its way to a grassy area on the south side of the Coppin State campus, behind the southernmost parking lot, near the Science and Technology Center and the Health and Human Services Building, university spokesman Andrew Brezinski said.
He asked students, faculty, staff and the public to avoid the area, where police and the owner attempted to recapture the bull.
“Let the authorities handle the situation,” Brezinski said. “It should be resolved shortly.”
That didn’t stop some people from approaching the animal, their phones out and seemingly recording.
Police strung crime scene tape up along the Coppin State entrance at Presbury Street and Warwick Avenue. Nearby, a crowd of people formed to watch this somewhat familiar saga play out. Helicopters circled overhead to broadcast the bull’s movements.
Marlon Owens, 55, lives across the street from the Pennsylvania Avenue slaughterhouse and has gotten used to this bull-on-the-loose news cycle. When he saw footage of the animal on the Citizen app, he thought: "Wow."
"It's just terrible," he said. "They need to control it better. Something serious is going to happen."
Sheila Williams watched the creature make its escape from the window of her house on Warwick.
“Oh Lord,” she said.
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After all the excitement, Barao said, “the bull’s going home and he’s going to be fine.”