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Animal Alert: Police responded to 35 wild animal calls in 2010

It can sometimes be easy to forget that the men and women serving Hastings in the police department respond to more than crime, accidents and public disturbances.

To highlight some of the other work our officers do, we've decided to highlight a set of calls that, to some, might seem odd jobs for law enforcers: wild animals.

Last year in Hastings, police answered to 35 wild animal calls. Here's what happened at a few of them.

Jan. 28 - Complainant said that he was walking his dog and saw a dead Red Fox in a snare behind Cornerstone Bible Church across from Progress Drive, 30 yards north of the walking path. Complainant met an approximately 30-year-old man walking in the same area three days ago who said he was setting snares. Today he saw the dead fox and believes it to be the same man who could have set the snare. Complainant states that the man had parked at the Cornerstone Bible Church in his old Wisconsin plate truck. Responding officer left a voice message for the DNR regarding the incident.

March 21 - Report of an injured raccoon on the roadway. On arrival, the raccoon was located. He appeared to be dazed and confused from being struck by a vehicle. The raccoon was followed while it made its way down Spiral Boulevard. The raccoon was shaking its head from side to side and was quite wobbly while walking. It appeared as if he was just getting the cob webs out. Reporting officer left to go to another call but did come back to check the welfare of the raccoon. The raccoon was hit by another vehicle and died.

April 11 - A large bobcat was reported running through a backyard along Lea Street. Information only.

May 2 - Complainant reported that he was at the intersection of West Second and State streets, where he witnessed a bear cross Second Street and go north through the houses. Complainant estimated the bear to be between four and five feet tall when it stood on its hind legs. The area was checked and officers did not locate the bear. At approximately 2100 hours (roughly one hour prior), passerby also reported seeing a bear cross the road at Third and Forest streets. That area was also checked and a bear was not located.

May 8 - Report of two ducklings that fell into the sewer well. Officer removed the sewer cover and used a fishing net to retrieve them.

May 22 - Report of an injured boa constrictor in the eastbound turn lane to Highway 55. The dead bull snake was removed and disposed of.

June 17 - Responded to a home along Tyler Street on the report that the homeowner had a chipmunk trapped in a bedroom. Upon arrival, the homeowner asked what could be done about the chipmunk. She was advised of the use of a live trap and wild animal services. She was also advised if she uses a live trap and needs further assistance setting it or removing the animal, officers can assist her with that.

July 14 - Officer was flagged down by an elderly woman who wanted him to remove a duck from the street. Duck waddled into a sitting area and off the street.

July 18 - Caller wanted information on how to get rid of a skunk he had caught in a live trap. Officer advised him to call animal control.

July 25 - Report of a possible injured golden eagle in a back yard along East First Street. Homeowner reported seeing an eagle swimming in the river after fighting with another eagle earlier in the day. The injured bird swam to shore. The homeowner had taken a picture of the bird, and upon reviewing it the officer recognized the bird to be a juvenile bald eagle. The area was searched, but the bird was not found.

Sept. 2 - Report of a sick squirrel that had been chasing kids or anyone that came around it. The squirrel was sitting by the front door and would not leave. The squirrel was disposed of.

Sept. 24 - Report of a skunk in the back yard. Skunk appeared injured but officer did not get close enough to determine extent of injuries. Skunk was allowed to roam in the back yard.

Sept. 29 - Officer responded to a report of an injured deer. Officer met with caller, who stated he had observed the injured deer laying in the ditch. The adult female deer had broken hind legs. The deer was put down. Caller was issued a deer tag and allowed to take the deer.