NEWARK, N.J. – It took an urban cowboy from the farms of South Africa to corral and lasso a 600-pound bull running loose Friday in the streets of New Jersey's largest city.
For Denton Infield, now an animal control officer, rounding up wayward cattle was second nature, even if the scene was not.
Officers chased the bull for 10 hours through the streets of Newark — at one point, it took a turn toward downtown — before Infield final got close enough early Friday to corral it in the parking lot of a tool and die shop. There, the bull was tranquilized and eventually drifted off to sleep as the rush-hour traffic snarled and children snapped pictures with their cell phone cameras from passing school buses.
"Back home in South Africa, this is quite common," said Infield, a manager with the Associated Humane Societies' Newark office. "A lot of our cattle are transported by truck, and a lot of times the truck will turn over and there's cattle all over the place."
But that's in rural South Africa. Newark is quite another story.
"It's a shock to see a bull running loose here," said resident George Romero. "Usually when you hear about Newark, it's a murder or some crime, but a bull running loose? Seeing is believing. I was like, 'Holy Cow!'"
The bull was corralled less than a mile from Newark Liberty International Airport, about eight miles from New York City.
It was the second time in as many years that wayward cattle were caught wandering around Newark. In May 2004, a steer escaped from a slaughterhouse and was eventually taken to a farm sanctuary.
Infield said the bull caught Friday likely escaped from a slaughterhouse or fell off a truck bound for one.
The 3-year-old mixed breed bull had an auction tag affixed to its back, indicating it wasn't far from The Final Roundup.
The bull was first spotted at 10 p.m. Thursday, running up and down an industrial street leading to Newark's heavily populated downtown. Police shooed onlookers away and blocked off streets to keep vehicles away from the animal, which managed to elude its pursuers until Friday morning.
"He was jumping over air conditioning units and over small fences," Infield said. "He was a little wild."
Infield finally chased the bull into the empty parking lot, where he tossed a rope around its neck and nudged it close enough for a second animal control officer to jab it with a tranquilizer syringe.
"He's asleep now," Infield said, rubbing the animal's flank.
Authorities called in a trailer from Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey Township, a refuge for abused or unwanted animals that is operated by the Humane Societies. Infield said the bull would be taken there to live out the rest of its life.