Bull rages through Purcell Park

Rebecca Martinez -- March 12th, 2010

A Black Angus bull escaped from Rockingham Livestock Sales on Dealton Avenue Thursday and ran around Purcell Park and a nearby residential neighborhood.

The bull was loose for about an hour and acted aggressively to officers and bystanders, said Public Information officer Mary-Hope Vass of the Harrisonburg Police Department. Officers shot the animal after instruction by its owners.

Harrisonburg police Sgt. R. Pollard told the Daily News-Record the bull was foaming at the mouth and appeared to be “in a deranged state” and that its owners told police to kill the animal when it was cornered in a backyard.

No humans were injured in the incident.

Vass said animals used to escape more frequently from in-town livestock sales, but after pressure from the city to improve security on holding pens, escapes are much less frequent.

Rockingham Livestock Sales could not be reached for comment.

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27 Responses to “Bull rages through Purcell Park”

  1. Purcell Park — that’s where the bear was sited two years ago. I’m sure there’s a Wall Street joke in there somewhere.

  2. Annie Layne says:

    Remember the cow on court square a few years ago?

  3. This story has blown up today on Twitter.

  4. Emmy says:

    Did they not have a tranquilizer gun?

  5. BANDIT says:

    They are trained to shoot, not think….and HECK YA, a tranquilizer would of worked!!!

  6. republitarian says:

    Why shoot it with a tranquilizer gun? It was going to get shot within days anyways.

    It’s easy to second guess what they did….if someone would have gotten hurt, people would have screamed that they shouldn’t have taken a chance and just shot it.

    Who cares. It’s just a cow….

  7. Allen says:

    If it was a bull, it was not going to be “shot within days”. They’re usually sold for breeding purposes. My guess is that the owner of the bull didn’t want to be held responsible for any damage or injury the bull could have caused, so as stated in the article, he instructed the police to shoot the animal. Losing a few thousand dollars is a lot cheaper than facing a lawsuit from the parents of a kid who got trampled at the park. And do you all think all Harrisonburg police officers carry specialty tranquilizers just for cases like this? I don’t think you can blame the police at all in this case. If they had more time, I’m sure they could have called a vet or an animal control agent, but then they’d have to deal with moving a sedated bull out of someone’s yard. But when the owner says “shoot it”, then why blame the cops for “being trained to shoot”.

    However, I’m afraid this episode can only strengthen the argument of the “concealed guns in restaurant” guys. Now they can say “Hey if that bull came charging into El Charro while I was enjoying my Lunch Special #7, I could have pulled my concealed gun and shot it right there in the restaurant before it had a chance to knock over my chips and salsa. Go America! NRA for life! Fox News! Glen Beck! Tea Party!”

  8. Eso says:

    Why didn’t they just give it a hug?? It just needed some love, respect, and understanding.

  9. Emmy says:

    I asked a simple question. I wasn’t saying the police did the wrong thing, or that the bull needed more respect. I just asked why. I would assume that since the animal control officers are members of the HPD that they would have been called in this situation and that they may have tranquilizer guns. I just wondered why that wasn’t tried first. Good grief. I wasn’t blaming anyone.

  10. True. Emmy just asked an honest question. No need for the mean-spirited comments, guys.

  11. Animal control officers, GENERALLY, aren’t sworn law enforcement officers.

  12. Rebecca Martinez says:

    I don’t think any of these comments were mean-spirited. This looks like pretty valid discourse. I do wonder, though, since HPD said this has happened before — and used to happen more frequently — why there isn’t animal control related protocol for this. With three livestock sales in the city, it would make sense.

  13. Martha Woodroof says:

    I”m with Becky!

  14. Jamie Smith says:

    I think the DNR headline. “Bull Runs Through Harrisonburg” was a double entendre!

  15. Emmy says:

    I’m actually trying to find an answer to my own question. I spoke with someone who works with the animal control officers on a regular basis and hope to have an answer soon.

  16. Jamie Smith says:

    The animal control people were busy practicing “Chicken Control.”

  17. Emmy says:

    By the way, I just want to add that I think our animal control officers are pretty awesome. I called with a concern about living conditions of some dogs in the area and they went right out to check on them. When I worked downtown we had to call them twice, once for a baby opossum and once for a mother duck and her babies who were resting under a parked car. Both times they came right out and helped the animals. They have a lot to do and always handle things great.

  18. Lowell Fulk says:

    Funny Jamie, I had the same thought and even began a post, but then I thought perhaps it best to let sleeping hens lay…

  19. seth says:

    this reminds me of a story about some dogs getting shot in country club court some years ago. as i recall, the hpd was called when the dogs allegedly cornered someone on top of a car. i’m pretty sure the way the dnr article read was that an officer had dispatched the beasts after one latched onto his arm and the other to his leg. i remember wondering then why animal control hadn’t responded as opposed to a regular officer who has limited options when it comes to solutions in this type of situation. good to know they respond quickly when it comes to baby possums and ducks though.

  20. Emmy says:

    Funny, I would have wondered if the DNR got the story right…but that’s just me. It’s possible that the reason they responded to our calls downtown as quickly as they did because they weren’t busy those days. Maybe they just didn’t really care about the person trapped by the dog. Yes, that seems logical.

  21. seth says:

    come on emmy,
    the police not caring about someone getting attacked by a dog is a cock and bull story at best.

    seriously though, i like the way you took the bull by the horns with your sarcasm there. that’s a sign of someone who can really shoot the bull.

    i’d also like to take a moment say that i’m glad you guys have people like rebecca coming out of the bullpen to write original content.

  22. jen says:

    it mentions that the bull was foaming at the mouth and in a “deranged state.” they probably went straight past tranquilizers to guns because of the risk of rabies.

  23. Emmy says:

    I don’t think it was rabies. It was likely foaming at the mouth due to the stress and fear it was under.

    I learned that the reason they shot it was because the owner asked them to. Also, the animal control officers said that when an animal of that size is really worked up it’s adrenaline is going so hard that tranquilizers don’t work.

    Also, Seth if this dog incident you speak of happened in the city, then the lack of response by animal control was probably due to the fact that the city only has only one animal control officer and due to the fact that the person was already under attack there probably wasn’t time to wait for the officer.

  24. Hey, at least Purcell Park is not a china shop.

  25. MB Green says:

    The bull was put down because the bull was acting aggressive toward humans. Nobody would want to buy him, and for the owners to sell him knowing he was dangerous would be negligent.

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