Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Urban cowboys

The 911 calls began coming into the police station around 10 pm Tuesday, September 18 2007. The reports were from Union Ave, Queens NYC, New York and the surrounding areas.

By the time Dimitri Mitropoulous, 45, called 911, there had been numerous reports of the animal cruising up the road. He called to report a near collision with a cow as he drove past the parking lot of Queens Hospital. He added that it had come out of nowhere but it must have found some grass there to feed on before he drove by.

The operator he got when he called 911 must have thought he was a prank call because he stated that she asked him what color cow it was. Mitropoulous answered her by stating, "Are you joking? It's a cow in New York City." Someone finally made the decision that there indeed was a cow loose in Queens and they began to track Mitropoulous with his GPS while he followed the cow through the streets.

Mitropoulous followed the cow for about 2 miles and at times he said he was going about 20 mph to keep alongside the cow. The cow finally took a wrong turn and was cornered in a yard at 85-22 144th St around 11 pm, where a dozen squad cars and Fire Department vehicles boxed it in.

The cow, by now named "Queenie" was not interested it seems in "going along quietly." Dozens of people climbed lightpoles, climbed on trucks and garden walls to watch the urban cowboys work their "magic" with lassos. Even after they had roped her, the cow wasn't giving up....... she bucked, kicked and mooed up a storm as they wrestled her into a waiting NYPD horse trailer. To add to the scene, the onlookers, clearly on the side of the cow began chanting "Attica,Attica" while others just enjoyed the laugh.

One exhausted officer was asked after the cow was finally loaded, where did it come from. He just sort of smirked and answered,

"I don't know. It's not talking."

It hasn't been determined yet where "Queenie" escaped from but there are a number of halal butchers in the area who keep animals for slaughter according to Islamic law. There also hasn't been a report as to where she is headed now but a similar case in 2000 ended with the cow spending the rest of her days in an upstate animal sanctuary.

I am sure that there were some who only saw hamburger on the hoof but after the attempt she made at escape, she should be given a chance for a long life of leisure.

Update: posted September 20

Maxine, as she is now known, is headed on one last trip after her 49 minute gallop through the city. She is headed for the 175 acre Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen NY, to live out her life with the other approximately 1,000 animals there.

The initial call came in about a cow on a highway in Queens around 9:45 pm and after 10 sightings and being trailed by a car, she was cornered around 10:30 pm in Briarwood. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly stated that the NYPD was used to corraling all types of animals and from previous reports, even sharks.

"We do have the cow. The cow is in custody," Kelly had stated.

Maxine, estimated to be about 1,100 pouinds and worth between $800 to $1,000, is believed to have escaped from a live market and may have been being led to slaughter because of the tag that had been glued on her. The city has more than 75 markets where a buyer can select a live cow and have it butchered on the premises. They are legal as long as they have been licensed.

Susan Coston, sanctuary director, stated that Maxine will be the second cow to escape death in NYC and enjoy life-long care with them. In 2002, Queeney made a run for it as well and was rescued by the santuary as well. Coston added that Maxine was quite happy to munch clover in the trailer before her trip began. While Maxine may have been in custody for a short time, it would seem that her "sentance" will be an enjoyable one for many.


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