HARTFORD — A butcher shop employee who cut the throat of a runaway calf in a Home Depot parking lot has been charged with animal cruelty, police said Friday.

The worker, Badr Musaed, 39, turned himself in Thursday to face the felony charge, authorities said. He was released after posting a $10,000 bond.

The young cow broke out of the Saba Live Poultry store in Bloomfield on July 13 and ran behind the Home Depot store across the street. The animal eluded several people who tried to corral it before employees from the halal butcher shop wrestled it to the ground and Musaed cut its throat. At the time, he was cited for making a public disturbance.

Police decided to pursue the more serious charge after consulting with agriculture officials, said Lt. Christina Benvenuto, a spokeswoman for Bloomfield police. She said the investigation included a review of regulations for halal slaughter, in which animals are killed in accordance with Islamic dietary laws.

The manager of the halal butcher shop, Bilal Musid, has apologized but said his employees worried that the calf would hurt someone if wasn't stopped.

The state Department of Agriculture investigated the shop after the parking lot slaughter and sent a cease-and-desist order, citing conditions at the facility that would result "in imminent and substantial harm to health of the animals."

There are currently no animals at the store, and it must address several violations before it can resume operations, Benvenuto said.

The killing provoked an outcry from animal-rights activists, who held a vigil on the spot where the animal was killed. The case also has led to a stream of racist, anti-Muslim comments posted on webpages associated with the store.

Halal slaughter, in adherence to Islamic law, involveskilling an animal through a cut to the jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe. The blood is drained from the carcass.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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