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Animals Behaving Badly

Bears and snakes and goats—oh my! Welcome to a wacky month of security-related news in which the perpetrators are not the usual roundup of criminals with planning deficiencies or just plain bad luck. Nope, this month is brought to you by members of the animal kingdom not in the Primate order.

No real need for our standard disclaimer this month, but here it is anyway: security is a serious business with serious consequences. Bringing these stories to you with a lighter touch is in no way meant to diminish any suffering the actions described caused. And in our first story, the poor steer roaming highways probably caused traffic issues that made people late to important appointments… or something.

Number 5Lester the Steer Wreaks Havoc on Interstate 75 in Michigan—I have never seen it, but it can’t be that strange for a steer to escape its pasture and find itself on an interstate corridor. This incident, however, rises to strange status because the bovine is being chased by a couple of ATVs and a man on horseback. The video of the incident gets surreal around 30 seconds in when the man on the horse chases the steer into traffic lanes and tries to lasso it.

Number 4When the Lights Go Out—Speaking of traffic trouble, when a traffic light at a major suburban intersection goes out and there are no storms or power line issues, authorities would be wise to approach the light’s power box with caution. The technician probably opened the box with routine nonchalance only to get a jolt when he was face-to-face with a large snake, which had flipped the power switch to the light.

Number 3Dumpster Diving—Speaking of getting a heart-pounding surprise when opening something, a West Virginia school principal went to  unlatch the school’s dumpster. As soon as the lid was unlatched, however, a black bear made his escape from inside the dumpster, and the principal ran. The entire incident was caught on the school’s video surveillance camera. PSA: You will never outrun a bear. The principal’s best move would have been to quickly back to the open school door and close himself inside. Fortunately, the bear, understandably, just wanted to get away.

Number 2I’d Like Five Dozen Cupcakes Please—Speaking of bear shenanigans: Forget about cocaine bear, a baker in Connecticut had to contend with a bear on a serious sugar high. Video shows workers approaching the back of the building to load some treats into a delivery van. They then discovered that a thief was stealing the cupcakes. But this was no normal thief, this was a large black bear who ultimately ate 60 cupcakes. Seeing the bear, the workers turned and ran, coming back in a car, which they used to scare the bear off. PSA No. 2: In case you didn’t read the previous PSA: you cannot outrun a bear. This being a black bear, the workers should have backed off slowly while continuing to face the bear. Animal control would have been a better call then driving their car around.

Number 1No Kidding: California Overtime Law Threatens Use of Grazing Goats to Prevent Wildfires—Speaking of interfering with animals eating, it’s fascinating that one method of trying to control the spread of wildfires to populated or important areas is to hire a herd of goats to eat away the fire’s fuel. The story elevates to strange because the practice may need to end since the herders, who are on call 24 hours a day, would need to be paid 400 percent more than current wages, which makes the practice uneconomical. And huge props to the Associated Press for the pun in the headline.

Some of the stories without animals—wild or domesticated—that also caught our editors’ eyes this month: