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The Stories of Animal Control Officers Joe Tuesday and Bill Cannon: “An alligator in the arboretum” Episode #3

Episode 3 – “An alligator in the arboretum”

“The Stories of Animal Control Officers Joe Tuesday and Bill Cannon”

(With a nod to Jack Web’s ‘Dragnet’ TV series…)

By Keith Kaniut

I’m Sergeant Joe Tuesday, Animal Control Officer.  My partner Bill Cannon and I had just returned from a code 634 call – “an aardvark in the attic”.  It was the local abbey’s attic and the abbot was aggrieved because said aardvark had absconded with a bottle of his favorite absinthe. We had successfully retrieved both and just started the paperwork  when the station phone rang.

“Hello. Animal Control. Sergeant Tuesday.” I started writing. “OK sir. Got it. We’re on our way.”

“Bill, let’s roll. We have a 110 over on Oak. How are you with alligators?”

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“Depends on their size.”  

“Right…well that was Al, owner of ‘Al’s Amazing Arboretum and Abstract Dance Emporium’. Apparently, there’s an alligator in one of the pools.”

“That’s odd.  Those are rarely seen in arboretums, let alone here in Minnesota.”

“Agreed.  Bring the fake chicken.  Bait.  Let’s go.”

A few minutes later we parked at the arboretum.  Al met us at the curb.

“I’m glad you guys are here.  I have a kid’s birthday scheduled in thirty minutes and the alligator was definitely not invited.  I checked the list.” He grinned and continued.

“I can’t have 8 year olds disappearing.  Most of their parents would be upset!”

“Sir, was that a joke?” He nodded.

“I do the jokes sir.”

“Oh.” He shrugged. “Well, follow me.”

Bill and I grabbed our equipment.

The alligator mississippiensis was impressive – maybe ten feet long judging by the length of its head, the only part visible.  It was swimming lazily around the artificial pond.  

“Al, we’ll take it from here.”  

Bill tied a cord to the fake chicken and tossed it into the water.  The alligator slowly approached.  I had the heavy burlap sack and my stick with the wire loop poised and ready.  Suddenly, the alligator reversed course and headed back around the small tree-filled island out of sight. 

 “Try not to lose him!” I yelled as we ran around the pond.  When we reached the other side of the island the alligator was gone.  We searched and found only an adolescent boy of about 14.  He was sitting on a bench, studying the trees with an air of unconvincing innocence. 

“Heh kid.  I’m Sergeant Tuesday.  We’re with Animal Control.  Did you see an alligator go by?”

He started to laugh but caught himself.  “Really?  Uncle Al called you??”  Something was off.  I proceeded to question the lad.

“So, he’s your uncle?  And you are?”

“Albee Archer, sir.”  Just then Bill poked his head out from behind a tree.  “Joe, check this out.”  Bill pointed at something in the bushes.  Our missing alligator.  I backed up a little and cautioned Bill.

“Not too close.  They can lunge.”

“I don’t think that’ll be a problem Joe.  I also found this.”  Bill pulled a radio remote control from behind his back.  With that knowledge, I more bravely confronted and “captured” the fearsome creature, or more accurately, the electric alligator. 

“The jig’s up kid. ”

“I was playing a joke on my uncle Al.”

“Well, since you got him to call us, I guess it worked.”  I turned to Bill.  “What do you think Bill?”

Bill thought a second and said, “Since it’s not technically an animal, I’m not sure we have jurisdiction.”

Albee looked at us conspiratorially.  “Umm, could you just ‘pretend’ to capture and remove it so I can get him again?” 

“Only if you call us first next time so we can be in on the joke!”  I handed the alligator back to him and shoved a couple of nearby sticks into my alligator sack so it looked full.  Then Bill and I returned to where Uncle Al was waiting.

“Did you get it?”

I held up the sack. “Yep.  All set.  You’re good to go.”

Bill added, “Your nephew Albee was a big help.” 

“Well thanks. I guess I don’t have to worry anymore about disappearing 8 year olds!”

“Well, you might sir. Just not due to the alligator.”

Dispatch called just as we reached the truck.

“Joe. You have a ‘214’ call from a Mrs. Belinda Bradshaw at Baseline and Bungalo Boulevard.”

“Bill – another call. A big bat in the bathroom at the Bradshaw’s.”

“What kind of bat? Baseball?”

“No – the kind that sleeps hanging upside down.”

“That explains why they called us.” Bill grinned. “It could be a fruit bat.”

“Why?”

“You did say ‘big’”.

I nodded with approval.  Bill was right.

“Can I do the siren Joe?”  Bill was grinning.

“Sure.”  Then we both grinned.


Stay Tuned to Blue Water Healthy Living for more episodes of “The Stories of Animal Control Officers Joe Tuesday and Bill Cannon”.

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