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Rampaging Bull Killed At Western Queens Rodeo

by HOWARD GIRSKY Queens displayed its own flair for the wild, wild west last week, but instead of bull wranglers to quell a one-ton beast, it took a posse of gun-toting New York City cops.
The rampaging bull was caught in a hail of bullets in a parking lot adjoining a Long Island City housing project. The 40 bullets left the animal bleeding to death on the street triggering a controversy between the NYPD and the ASPCA.
The animal escaped from an illegal Mexican rodeo festival causing chaos on the streets surrounding the Ravenswood Houses on 36 Ave., between 22 and 23 Sts.
Steve Fleming, a spokesperson for the Professional Rodeo Assoc. in Colorado, said the Mexican rodeo was one of an estimated 2,000 rodeos not sanctioned by his organization. He said 800 of the events had the blessing of the Association.
In fact, the promoter Lazar Navarro, had no permit for the rodeo and was given a summons by the ASPCA for violation of the City’s health code section prohibiting the exhibition of wild animals.
ASPCA spokesperson Peter Paris questioned the police action in emptying their guns at the beast hurtling down the street. He reacted sharply to reports that the bull was left to die bleeding on the street.
"We would have preferred to see the animal shot in the head and quickly put out of its misery," Paris said.
Paris said that powerful animals running loose through an urban environment can easily pose real safety risk to the general public and makes an excellent case as to why exhibitions of such animals should be prohibited in this kind of setting.
Police said they will review the handling of events, but Mayor Giuliani scoffed at attempts to portray the incident as a police over reaction.
The ASPCA reported that on May 9, a North Carolina bull wrangler, Rodney Hayes, was charged with six counts of animal cruelty for failure to provide adequate and safe housing for six bulls and is due to appear in Queens Criminal Court on July 12.
Eyewitnesses to the incident said they heard people screaming, "Don’t shoot him, don’t kill him."
Some Mexican immigrants in Long Island City said rodeos are popular pastimes in some parts of Mexico and were saddened by what had happened.

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