Aurora's parks department installed four plywood coyotes at Utah Park in an effort to scare off an overabundance of geese that were pooping on the trails. The department reported that the decoys appeared to be working.

In July, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow named a Jefferson County "There Is No Poop Fairy" public service campaign the "Best New Thing in the World." The campaign was designed to get people to clean up after their dogs, and it came with its own myth: "Like the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot, the fabled poop fairy has been the stuff of legend. Flying undetected in parks, neighborhoods and schoolyards, she was said to follow close behind dogs and their owners — picking up what the dog left behind before flying off to the next canine creation. A widespread belief that she existed seemed to reassure some that cleaning up after one's dog was sort of...optional." It's not.

Insurance companies are good at dealing with cars. But when it comes to pets? Not so much. In August, Farmers' Insurance, which was representing a driver who ran over Marcia Pinkstaff's dog, said it planned to "total out" her pet after paying for a few trips to the vet. The dog, a lab mix named Sasha, had ben hit by a minivan when she and Pinkstaff were crossing the street. "I was horrified," Pinkstaff told 7News. "They said they were totaling out my dog. It broke my heart, because she is like a child to me."

In September, a woman who had been hired to pet-sit a Chihuahua was charged with animal cruelty after witnesses said she was driving down the street at ten to fifteen miles per hour while running the dog, Cooper, alongside the car. The woman told a judge she was just doing what the dog's owner had asked her do.

A woman who hired Posh Maids to take care of her house sued the cleaning service in October, claiming that two maids let her dog, Ruthie, escape while they were there in August. Although the dog later returned, it had been severely injured and died in the woman's dining room. Robin Lohre says she called the maid service afterward to demand an answer and was told that Ruthie had been hit by a car but returned on her own.

In February, a planeload of former Bolivian circus lions landed in Denver, where the kings — and queens — of the jungle were then loaded into special trucks for their journey to a wildlife refuge in Keenesburg. The 25 animals were rescued by Animal Defenders International, which says the lions were treated horribly by their circus masters. Former game-show host Bob Barker helped fund the mission, dubbed Operation Lion Ark.

The Bolivian lions weren't the only felines that made a long trip in 2011. In September, a cat that had gone missing in Boulder five years ago turned up safe and sound at an animal shelter in New York City. The cute little calico, named Willow, was identified with a microchip that had been implanted in her back when she was a kitten. Willow's story made national and international headlines.

In June, state wildlife officers asked the public for information on two people who were seen hand-feeding cheeseburgers to a black bear and her cubs in the parking lot of an Eagle Burger King. "This is an extraordinary example of stupid and irresponsible behavior by people," one state employee told a news outlet. You can hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, but please don't feed the animals.

Not-so-smooth criminals

In February, a Colorado Springs man was arrested after getting into an argument with two people at an apartment complex and then allegedly beating them up with a "wooden Native American spiritual stick" belonging to one of the victims.

In June, the Denver Post reported on a man it called "Nerdiest. Accused meth kingpin. Ever." The story detailed the case of Aaron Castro, a Commerce City man who was arrested and charged with running a multimillion-dollar meth ring. Police said Castro had spent thousands and thousands of dollars buying comic books — 18,753 of them, to be exact — and then allegedly hiding some of his meth in them. According to the cops, Castro planned to set up a comic-book business as a way to launder drug money.

Someone set the Denver Fire Department's arson van on fire in March while an investigator was interviewing people about two other vehicle fires. The investigator had to call the fire department to extinguish the flames. The van was destroyed.

Colorado thieves were particularly creative this year when it came to their disguises. In January, a pair of robbers dressed as Star Wars Stormtroopers tried to break into a car in Centennial, while in Colorado Springs, two gunmen hit an American National Bank branch wearing George Bush masks. A man dressed as a pirate attempted to rob a Walgreens in Colorado Springs in May, but his disguise was trumped by a guy who dressed as a skeleton to rob a credit union in El Paso County. And then there were the two clowns who held up Sonny's jewelry store in Denver dressed as, well, clowns. They were later apprehended in Utah.

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