Cattle corralled after city chase


After avoiding capture for more than three hours Tuesday, an 800-pound Black Angus steer was brought down by a tranquilizer dart in Rose Hill Cemetery at 6:30 p.m.

The steer was one of two animals that escaped from Four States' Livestock Sales on East First Street at around 3 p.m. It roamed around the cemetery while Hagerstown City Police and owner Joshua Martin tried to get close enough to shoot it with the dart.

Police closed the gates to the cemetery so the steer couldn't escape.

The other escapee was a 1,300-pound cow that surprised drivers along Frederick Street in front of the AMVETS Club at around 4 p.m. as she lumbered onto the road and then turned north into Staley Park. Police officers followed, trying to herd her.


Once at Staley Park, police and Martin approached the cow and were able to hit her with a tranquilizer dart. She went down on her knees and was loaded into Martin's truck just after 4 p.m.

With the cow taken care of, Martin and police returned their attention to the steer.

Officials at Four States' said such escapes, while not common, occur from time to time.

"A man had bought some livestock and was putting them into his trailer when it happened," said Jim Starliper, owner of the business, who was contacted by telephone Tuesday afternoon.

Starliper said his company keeps a stock of tranquilizer on hand to use when an animal escapes.

"We dart them and then put a halter on them and pull them onto a truck," Starliper said. "It's quick and painless."

The alternative is to kill the animal and Starliper said that is a last resort.

"That's a lot of beef to sacrifice," he said.

Martin, who has a farm in Cearfoss, said he wanted to keep the animals alive Tuesday afternoon even though they were to be used for beef.

Several attempts to dart the steer were unsuccessful. The steer ran each time a pickup truck carrying Martin in the bed approached.

The drama caught the attention of Frederick Manor residents, many of them children.

"I've been watching all afternoon," said Ryheim Pearson, 11, who was riding his bike around the neighborhood enjoying what to him was a "cool" event.

"What I'd like to know is how he got out," said Pearson's uncle, Jeffrey Cannon.

Police patrolled Rowland Avenue, keeping children away from the chain-link fence and on the opposite side of the street from the cemetery grounds.

After the steer was corralled along the Rose Hill Avenue side of the cemetery and trucked away, the gates to the cemetery were reopened.

"I'm glad we didn't have to kill him," said Capt. Charles Summers.

He said there was no damage done to any vehicles or property at the cemetery.

Anna Loub said she thought the steer should be left alone.

"There's enough grass there for food," said the retiree who lives next to Rose Hill Cemetery where, for a few hours, the escaped steer roamed.

"He looks like a young bull. He don't want to be auctioned off," she said. "He's right in my back yard. I wouldn't mind having him there."

Loub's husband, John, 69, watched from a chair in the garage entryway.

"It's a pretty peaceful place here," John Loub said. "It's too bad he can't stay in a place like that."

It's the first time in the 18 years the couple has lived there that they saw a steer in the neighborhood, they said.

Residents at Frederick Manor, near Four States' Livestock Sales, said steer sightings are not uncommon.

"We got big pets in the neighborhood," said Regina Stoner of Frederick Manor.

A Washington County Public Schools bus driver, Stoner said she was warned to keep an eye out for the steer when she picked up the children at Bester Elementary School.

By then, police were at the cemetery closing the gates so the steer couldn't escape.

Shannon Chapman called 911 when she saw the steer in the cemetery.

"My main concern is the children walking home from school," Chapman said. She was worried the steer might charge the kids.

Chapman said the police did a fine job, but she thought they should have notified neighbors earlier that a steer was loose.

Children stood on top of pilings in the alley to get a better view of the black steer.

"This is once in a lifetime you'll see a bull running around in a graveyard," said DJ Zimmerman, 13, who alerted his grandmother, Ann Shepherd, to the steer's presence behind her home.

Traffic on Memorial Boulevard slowed as people were looking at the wayward steer.

Staff writer Julie E. Greene contributed to this story.

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