Thursday, September 20, 2007
The cow didn't jump over the moon, but it sure bounded around Queens last night.
A frightened white-and-brown bovine led a small army of cops and firefighters on a merry chase until they finally corralled it in a Briarwood yard about 11 p.m.
Just where "Queenie" came from was unclear, but neighborhood residents said there are a number of halal butchers in the area who keep animals for slaughter according to Islamic law.
Police said 911 calls began coming in shortly before 10 p.m. from people who spotted the animal hoofing it on Union Turnpike and later at a number of other locations.
Dimitri Mitropoulous, 45, almost came hood to head with the critter.
He was driving past Queens Hospital Center, near the parking lot, when "the darn thing just came out of nowhere. There must have been a little bit of grass in the lot and he was feeding."
Mitropoulous called 911 and got an operator who thought he was a prankster. "She asked me what color the cow was and I said, 'Are you joking? It's a cow in New York City.'"
When it was finally determined there really was a four-legged fugitive - from somewhere - on the loose, cops began tracking Mitropoulous with a Global Positioning System device as he followed the cow.
"We must have gone about 2 miles," Mitropoulous said, "and it was running at a good pace for a while. I had to do 20 [mph] to keep up with it. I was driving right alongside. If I had a rope I would have grabbed him."
The chase ended when the cow turned into a yard next to a three-story building at 85-22 144thSt., where it was trapped by more than a dozen radio cars and Fire Department vehicles.
Scores of rubberneckers mounted light poles, and climbed on trucks and garden walls to watch as the pursuers closed in with lassos.
But the cow was not cowed. Queenie bucked, kicked and mooed loudly as she was wrestled toward a waiting NYPD horse trailer.
The tug-of-war clearly tickled a number of onlookers, who began chanting "Attica, Attica" - a reference to the violent suppression of a riot at the upstate prison - while others laughed.
When the cow was finally in the truck, one exhausted officer was asked where it came from.
"I don't know," he smirked. "It's not talking."
The cop also had no clue what's next for Queenie.
The life of a young cow that escaped from an Astoria, Queens, slaughterhouse was spared after she made a similar dash for freedom in 2000.
Her daring escape spurred dozens of animal lovers to call Animal Care & Control and beg the agency to help save the creature.
It did, and the animal was allowed to spend the rest of her days at a farm-animal sanctuary upstate.
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