SPARTA — A bull that attacked its owner had to be shot by police when it charged their patrol vehicle.

Sparta Police said they were called to a farm on Houses Corner Road on March 8 on reports a bull was approaching passing vehicles in the rural Sussex County community. Owner Wendy McDermott came to the road.

She told police she was usually able to lure the bull back into its pen with food. Police followed McDermott in her SUV and the bull to the farm.

Several times during the ride back to her farm, the bull bumped McDermott's SUV and tried to mount it, according to police.

McDermott got out of her truck, and as she lured the bull to an open gate to its pen, it attacked her and threw her around, police said. McDermott screamed that the bull needed to be shot as feared it was going to kill her, police said.

One of the officers distracted the bull, allowing McDermott to escape into one of the police vehicles, police said. As the bull began to charge the police car, a third officer shot the bull dead.

McDermott said the bull's behavior had been acting "highly aggressive" and it had recently attacked her husband, but not nearly as badly as it did McDermott.

McDermott received stitches in her head and was treated for cuts and bruises at Newton Hospital.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

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