WANTAGE — When a cow or a bull is reported on the loose anywhere in the local area, Mike Stura of the Skylands Animal Sanctuary and Rescue is one of the first people called.

Stura answered the call again on Tuesday when a bull, believed to have escaped from one of the slaughterhouses in Brooklyn, was running wild in the streets.

"I get all these messages and there's a bull loose and I just hop into action," he said.

The bull, which Stura named Shankar, had already been tranquilized by the time he arrived in New York, which he said helped get him into his trailer and back to the farm. Stura said Shankar weighs around 500 pounds, and made the trip quietly but came to life when he arrived at the sanctuary.

"He's not huge, but he's very very feisty," he said.

Upon arriving at the farm, Shankar got all the shots he needed and was given a full checkup by a veterinarian. Even during the exam, Stura said Shankar showed the energy that he used to get away from being slaughtered.

"He was a maniac," he said with a laugh. "Thank goodness he isn't twice his size or he would have killed me. He's big. He's strong. He's really lively."

Stura said he understood the bull's excitement because in all likelihood he had started his day at an area farm with his family before being swept away to slaughter in Brooklyn.

Now that he has been rescued, Stura said Shankar will be slowly acclimated to his new surroundings before joining the farm's 39 other cows. As for why he gave the bull its name, Stura said he believes it is at least part Brahman bull so he wanted to give it a name honoring its heritage.

"I looked up the definition and it means benevolence and one who brings prosperity and happiness," he said.

The sanctuary spreads over 230 acres and has 140 animals across the property, with cows being the largest group in addition to sheep, goat, pigs and others. Stura said he gives tours on the weekend where he not only tells stories about some of the animals that were rescued, but also tells visitors what happens to animals who aren't lucky enough to be rescued.

The sanctuary runs on donations and information on how to donate can be found on its Facebook page or website.

Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com

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