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Runaway bull lassoed by motorcycle cop in Fresno

May 25, 2012 |  1:14 pm

A Fresno motorcycle cop lassoed a runaway bull that was on the loose Friday in residential neighborhoods and forced the lockdown of two elementary schools.

Sightings of the 1,500-pound bull running through the streets of the city took police officers -- and everyone else -- by surprise.

"This is not an ordinary occurrence by any stretch," said police Lt. Burke Farrah. "We're a city of a half-million people, despite our reputation as a cow town."

In 40 minutes, the bull traveled two miles, prompting officers to request lockdowns at the two schools.

Rosemary Valenzuela said she was in her driveway leaving for work as an in-home care provider when she saw police cars and motorcycles.

"I thought it was a parade with all their lights flashing," she said. "Then I hear them say 'Get in your house. Get in your vehicle' and this big old thing comes whoomp, whoomp, whoomping past into our backyard."

Yesenia Ochoa, who also lives in the house, said she watched the motorcycle officer maneuver the bull in the backyard.

"He was in a cop uniform on a motorcycle, but he had a rope over his head like a cowboy," she said.

The officer, Tom Hardin Sr. had been at the station writing up tickets when a dispatcher recalled he had 30 years of ranch-roping experience.

"Tom rolled out," Burke said. "Once there, he rounded up the bull at speeds that reached 15 miles an hour. But he's an excellent motorcycle cop, as well as horseman. He stayed on his mount even after the bull kicked the motorcycle."

Valenzuela said the bull put his head down and started pawing, but Harding came in from the other side and chased the bull into a waiting cow trailer.

"Just in time for me to go to work," Valenzuela said.

Authorities are trying to locate the owner of the bull.

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-- Diana Marcum in Fresno

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