NJ: Ricardo the runaway bull scores $10K check after fans buy his stuffed animals

Feb. 26, 2024
NJ Transit Chief Executive Officer Kevin Corbett journeyed to Skylands Animal Sanctuary and Rescue in Wantage to present the check at Ricardo’s new home on Friday. The agency sold stuffed animals of Ricardo as a fundraiser for the rescue site.

He may be the first bull famous enough to inspire fans to purchase stuffed animals from a transit agency.

NJ Transit is honoring Ricardo, the bull who famously ran to freedom along the tracks at Newark Penn Station in December, with a $10,000 donation toward his care at an animal sanctuary in Sussex County.

NJ Transit Chief Executive Officer Kevin Corbett journeyed to Skylands Animal Sanctuary and Rescue in Wantage to present the check at Ricardo’s new home on Friday. The agency sold stuffed animals of Ricardo as a fundraiser for the rescue site.

The agency released a minute-long video showing Ricardo, who survived a potentially deadly infection diagnosed not long after his escape, looking healthy and getting his giant check in an afternoon ceremony.

NJ Transit has not said how many of the stuffed animals were sold. But, the transit agency rolled out the novelty item soon after Ricardo’s escape and pledged to donate a portion of the proceeds to his new home.

Ricardo became a social media sensation when police struggled to capture the bull Dec. 14 as he ran along the Northeast Corridor, the nation’s busiest rail passenger line, delaying NJ Transit and Amtrak trains. He was finally captured three miles from Newark Penn Station and taken to the animal sanctuary.

Officials said Ricardo escaped from one of several meat processing locations in Newark.

NJ Transit quickly embraced the bull’s improbable fame, producing a $20 stuffed animal modeled after Ricardo.

Within days, though, the happy conclusion nearly took a nearly tragic turn.

The bull arrived in Sussex County with a half dollar-sized road rash wound on his leg — it’s unclear if he got the wound during his run through Newark — and by Christmas Eve it had worsened into a life-threatening infection.

Ricardo spent the next six weeks undergoing treatment at an animal hospital in New York, about a three-hour dive from the animal sanctuary.

He finally returned home two weeks ago.

The sanctuary has not said what it paid to put the bull in an animal hospital for six weeks. Mike Stura, the sanctuary’s owner, did not immediately respond Friday to a request to comment.

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Rob Jennings may be reached at [email protected].

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