A plucky bull escaped from a slaughterhouse and led police on a wild chase through the streets on Tuesday only to die on its way to a shelter.
Police corralled the bull in a backyard in Queens after a two-hour chase that continued even after the bull's hide was studded with tranquilizer darts.
A spokeswoman for Animal Care Centers of New York City said the bull died en route to one of the agency's care centres.
Police said the bull had escaped from the Aziz halal slaughterhouse. No one answered a phone number listed there.
The bull would have been spared the butcher's knife if it had lived. Mike Stura, the founder of Skylands Animal Sanctuary & Rescue in Wantage, New Jersey, said he was on his way to pick the bull up and take it to his facility.
"I was there trying to get him," Stura said. "This is not the outcome I was hoping for."
The beast's break for freedom was covered live on local TV.
Footage that aired on WABC-TV showed the black bull trotting briskly through a residential neighbourhood.
The nimble bovine eluded attempts to box it in between police vehicles by squeezing through narrow openings.
There were no reports of the bull causing any injuries during the chase, though it ripped the door off a car.
Escaped livestock episodes are rare but not unheard of in the city.
A bull that escaped while being transported to a Queens slaughterhouse last year was taken to an upstate farm sanctuary by former "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart and his wife, Tracey Stewart, an animal advocate.