The Erath County Sheriff’s Office is asking for tips regarding a possible case of animal cruelty involving a bull that was shot four times after it escaped from its pasture.

The bull’s owner Bill Mantis said the bull escaped from a 56-acre fenced pasture in the Timber Hills subdivision on Oct. 11.

Mantis’ neighbor called later that day to inform him that the bull was on his property.

Mantis said he went to his neighbor’s pasture to retrieve the bull and noticed that it was bleeding on its back.

“At first I thought a bobcat had attacked him,” Mantis said. “I couldn’t tell how bad the wound was because it was raining.” 

Mantis has owned the bull for several years and said it appeared to be frightened.

“He ran from me and he has never done that before,” Mantis said.

The bull ran to the back of the pasture. Mantis used a bucket of feed to coax the bull home.

When it stopped raining a couple of hours later, Mantis went back outside to check on the bull, and that’s when he noticed it had been shot.

“He was shot four times at close range,” Mantis said. “He was shot in both shoulders, his back and his scrotum. It was an extreme act of animal cruelty.”

Mantis said he is disturbed by the act and wants whoever was responsible held accountable.

“What’s hard to believe is that somebody took the time to abuse this animal,” he said. “Whoever did this walked around all four sides  and shot him from every angle.”  

Mantis has about 20 cows on his property, which he has owned since 1972, and said that anyone who owns animals understands that sometimes they get out.  He said he can’t imagine why someone would opt to shoot an animal rather than return it to its owner.

“I understand that he got out and I am liable for that,” he said. “But this is abuse. This bull is dehorned, is an older animal and is around humans on a daily basis. He has not been known to charge a person at any point in the 10 years he has been on this pasture.” 

He said the bull is alive, but “not doing well.”

Sheriff Tommy Bryant said there are no suspects or leads in the case and encourages anyone with information to call the sheriff’s office at 965-3338.