Barney Fife Critter Control
This week we bring readers a pair of stories about law
enforcement animal control that sound like they could have occurred
in fictional Mayberry.
Cop Shoots Concrete Gator – Twice
When police in Independence, MO received a report of an alligator
wandering near a creek on June 1, they contacted the state
Department of Conservation, which instructed the authorities in the
Kansas City suburb to dispatch the reptile if located.
Soon thereafter, one of Independence’s finest spotted the critter
and without hesitation, shot twice with his service pistol.
“The officer fired two rounds, and killed my concrete, ornamental
alligator,” said Rick Sheridan, who heard the gunshots on his
property and discovered the cops, who were obviously trying to
recover from an embarrassing Barney Fife Moment.
Since the incident, the police department has formally apologized
to Sheridan, who said he placed the faux gator on his property to
keep kids from trespassing. He said he became frustrated after
numerous “No Trespassing” signs he posted were removed by vandals,
so he purchased the concrete gator replica and placed it in the
weeds near the creek.
Sheridan told a local television station that the incident has made
him something of a local celebrity.
“I walked into a hardware store, and two gals said ‘Look there,
that’s the alligator guy!'” he said.
Cops Taser Toy Cougar
Imagine if Deputy Barney Fife had been allowed to carry a
new-fangled Taser to protect the town’s citizenry. Except this next
story didn’t happen in Mayberry; it was in Warren, Michigan.
Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer said his officers weren’t
taking any chances after someone phoned the department and reported
seeing a large cougar-like animal in a discarded concrete sewer
pipe near a city park.
“I’m not playing games,” the caller, a male, told the police
dispatcher. “I went up behind it. I shined a light in there. It’s
huge! It’s like a 150-pound cat!”
When authorities arrived at the scene shortly after dusk, sure
enough, they could see the silhouette of something inside the
“Officers could see the outline of what appeared to be a
panther-like animal lying in the tube, looking out at them,” Dwyer
later told the Macomb Daily News. “They backed out, for
fear of it lunging at them.”
Nearly an hour after the first cop arrived at the scene, an officer
was ordered by his sergeant to move in as close as possible and
fire his Taser at the suspected predator.
He did, and nothing happened.
That’s because the big critter was a large stuffed toy, apparently
placed there by someone as a prank.
But neither the cops-who put in three hours of overtime on the
call-nor the police chief, were amused.
“If in fact it was a panther and it got in the neighborhoods, we
would’ve had a crisis on our hands,” Chief Dwyer reasoned. “This
could’ve been a standoff for several hours, tying up a number of
personnel that could’ve been used for service and other
Right. And Gomer would have been directing traffic.