VALPARAISO | About 18 hours after a crash last week on Interstate 94 left cattle -- dead and alive -- scattered across the highway, a lone bull was found several miles away by a group of children in a wooded area in Porter.
Officials from the Porter County Animal Shelter picked up the 2-year-old animal and called a veterinarian to treat burn wounds on the inside of the bull's mouth and along the left side of its body, shelter Director Judy Bonaventura said.
The animal is recovering well at the shelter and has so captured the hearts of officials there that they have arranged for him to live out his life rather than continuing on to the slaughterhouse.
The bull, who has been affectionately nicknamed Charcoal as a result of smoke from the accident darkening his hide, was accepted Wednesday by the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, N.Y., which bills itself as the nation's leading farm animal protection organization.
"Farm Sanctuary is happy to take in this bull who has experienced unimaginable horrors over the past several days," according to a statement from the organization.
"Every year thousands of animals die in transport accidents, like the one witnessed by Indiana residents on I-94 last week," the group said. "All too often, surviving animals in these accidents are shot on site and are rarely afforded veterinary care."
"To see so many people come forward and make a concerted effort to save this animal's life shows a level of compassion that's often not afforded to animals raised for food, who deserve as much consideration as any other animal."
Bonaventura said the owner of the bull left him behind and has not contacted the county in search of the animal.
"I just think he deserves a chance to live," she said.
The bull had been in a cattle hauler July 26 that struck the rear of a second truck along I-94 near Chesterton.
The cattle hauler caught fire and seven of the 34 cattle inside escaped onto the expressway. Sixteen of the cattle survived, police said.