Cattle lead Edmonton police on merry chase

A steer and a bull on the lam in north Edmonton were back in captivity Wednesday evening after a day-long effort that tied up police and wildlife officials.

Cattle on the loose

11 years ago
Duration 3:14
A cow and a bull tied up Edmonton police for hours on Wednesday

Cattle that were on the lam in north Edmonton were back in captivity Wednesday evening after an effort that tied up police and wildlife officials for hours.

The first animal, believed to be a steer, was captured within a couple of hours but it took until nearly 6 p.m. until a bull that was released to lead the first animal back to captivity was finally tranquilized and loaded into a trailer.

The day-long saga began just after 7 a.m. when police were called an area near the Belvedere LRT station after reports that a cow escaped from Edmonton Custom Packers.

The niche packer slaughters animals according to Islamic tradition, said employee Mohammed Jomha.

The animal escaped through an open gate, said Jomha, who laughed at the attention garnered by the incident.

"In Lebanon, if a beef ran away on the street, nobody cares," he said.

Officers play rodeo clowns as they try capturing an escaped steer in north Edmonton Wednesday. (Tim Adams/CBC News)

"What I saw here — all policemen, helicopters, everybody saying, 'Stay here, stay here.' It's unbelievable. It's a very, very good country."

The testy bovine charged a police car, damaging the cruiser while climbing over it.

It rammed the vehicle several times before officers could chase it into a fenced-off field in an industrial area, said spokesperson Clair Seyler.

At one point during the roundup, the bull was set loose in an attempt to lure and control the steer. It failed, and the bull was loose for hours in a field near the LRT station.

Over the noon hour, another plan was hatched — release more cows, with the understanding that it's easier to manoeuvre cattle in a group.

The animals would then be rounded up using snowmobiles.

The original rogue animal was eventually coaxed into a cattle truck after a couple of hours but the bull was still on the loose.

A trail of hay was laid to an open trailer in hopes that bull would wander back into captivity. A passerby volunteered to help rope the animal but that didn't work either. Sirens and horns were used to get the bull to move without success.

Then late in the afternoon, two cows were brought in to help attract the bull — though this time they were tied up.

Eventually, veterinarian Rick Faintuck used a tranquilizer gun to subdue the animal.

The bull was then scooped up in a front-end loader, put into a trailer and driven away.

Faintuck wasn't surprised that the bull was resistant to all attempts to bring it under control.

"If you have a bull, a herd animal, alone, they're jazzed up anyway. Then when you put him in unfamiliar surroundings, he's more jazzed up," he said. "In his circumstance, he may have felt aggressive."

Faintuck says the bull may have earned itself a temporary reprieve from the slaughterhouse as it will take about six months for the drugs to get through its system.

With files from the CBC's Janice Johnston and The Canadian Press