Castleton man dies after being chased by bull
By Brent Curtis
staff writer | July 17,2014
CASTLETON — A 76-year-old man died from an apparent heart attack after he was chased to the ground by an escaped bull on his East Hubbardton Road property, police said Wednesday.
Harold Stanyon was pronounced dead Tuesday evening at Rutland Regional Medical Center after being chased by a 1,250-pound Brown Swiss bull he had penned on his property, interim Police Chief Steve Dechen said.
But the chief said the bovine, which escaped from the barn, didn’t appear to have harmed Stanyon after it chased him down and stood over him.
Stanyon, who was returning home from jogging when he encountered the bull on his front lawn, had scrapes and cuts on his body that Dechen said he believed were inflicted when he fell to the ground.
But the chief said there was no indication that the animal had trampled or gored him. The bull, named Napalm, had been dehorned.
An autopsy will be performed this week to determine the cause of death, but Dechen said he and a doctor familiar with Stanyon’s pre-existing cardiac condition believe he died from a heart attack.
“I feel he succumbed to the excitement of the event,” Dechen said. “This is an unfortunate situation. He was an avid jogger but had a heart condition. He was a really nice man.”
How the 2-year-old bull escaped its pen inside a barn on Stanyon’s property is unclear. Dechen said Stanyon, who worked in insurance but kept a small farm, rented his cow barn to his next-door neighbor, Glen-Mar Dairy, which owns the bull.
But the police chief said Stanyon was familiar and friendly with the animal which had been on his property for some time.
“He’d been around livestock all his life,” Dechen said.
But the chief, who spoke with two people who witnessed the incident, said Stanyon wasn’t expecting to see the animal when he jogged home at about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday.
Dechen said the witnesses were driving by in a car when they saw Stanyon running from a large animal.
“They thought it was a moose that came out of the woods and was chasing him,” Dechen said. “They just saw a large brown animal.”
The passersby shouted to Stanyon to get in their car but he declined, Dechen said, and asked the motorists instead to tell the dairy farmers next door that their bull had escaped.
When the motorists returned from that task, Dechen said they saw Stanyon lying prone on the ground with the bull over him.
After a failed attempt by the passersby to scare the animal away with their car horn, farmers from Glen-Mar farm arrived and tethered the animal, which Dechen said became completely docile after the chase ended.
Attempts were made by witnesses and a Castleton police officer to resuscitate Stanyon before paramedics arrived.
Dechen said the bull’s owner’s “got rid of” the animal Tuesday evening but he declined to say where the bull was taken.
“They don’t take chances with animals that display aggression,” Dechen said.
A woman at Stanyon’s home Wednesday afternoon said the family wasn’t ready to talk about the incident yet and added that inquirers at Glen-Mar farm were being turned away as well.