A heifer’s daring dash to freedom ended tragically Friday afternoon when St. Paul police efforts to corral or tranquilize the bovine were unsuccessful.

Police said they had to shoot and kill the animal, a British White Park named Breanna, after tranquilizers proved ineffective.

In total, she spent only a little more than an hour of her life free from captivity.

She had been staying at the State Fairgrounds for the Minnesota British White & Park Association gathering as part of the Minnesota Beef Expo, said Danielle Dullinger, a spokeswoman for the fair.

The heifer escaped as she was unloaded from her trailer, fair officials said, and left the fairgrounds heading south and east along nearby railroad tracks.

Someone called police just before noon to say that a bull was wandering along the tracks. Clearly, that was a case of mistaken identity. The escapee was a heifer — a female that has not yet had a calf.

It didn’t take long for police and animal control officers to spot the large white creature wandering about. They tried to corral her with their vehicles, said police Sgt. Mike Ernster. “But she kept moving. She wouldn’t settle down,” he said.

Next, they tried the tranquilizers. But the drugs had no effect, he said. In fact, the tranquilizer may have made her angrier. At one point, she lowered her head and charged at a railroad worker, Ernster said.

The worker was unharmed but had to leap over the hood of a squad car to escape.

The animal did not threaten anyone else, although Ernster said there was concern that she would make a dash for it on Energy Park Drive. So, police decided about 1 p.m. to use deadly force.

“We had to euthanize the cow,” Ernster said. Police used a shotgun. The shooting took place near the site of the former Midway Stadium, just west of Snelling Avenue.

The heifer’s owner, whose identity was not made public Friday, has agreed to have the carcass processed and the beef donated to charity, Ernster said. It was the first time in his 20 years with the department that police have had to shoot a cow.

“This is not something we deal with very often,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
James Walsh • 651-925-5041