Strange but True


In July, the Boulder City Council approved an ordinance substituting the term "pet guardian" for "pet owner" in the city's books. The change, which carries no legal value, was made at the request of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, whose members believe it will foster a kinder, more caring attitude toward pets.

Popular polar bear cubs Ulaq and Berit, who'd left Denver in June for Cincinnati, were renamed Imaq and Sedna in August-- after the Ohio zoo officials held a naming contest without telling participants that the bears already had names. The change upset a Denver woman who'd paid for the right to name one of the bears here, as well the woman who won the right to change Berit's name to Sedna. "I really didn't know they had names," said Madonna Jaeger of Cincinnati. "I had no clue at all. I thought they were no-name bears coming in."

A three-mile cattle drive down U.S. 550 between Durango and Silverton resulted in two criminal convictions, a seriously injured cowboy, a rattled cowboy, a dead horse and several bruised cows. In March, a jury convicted Silverton schools superintendent Larry Ranney of careless driving for hitting the cattle drive's lead flagger, Mike Jones, and seriously injuring him. Jones's horse, which was also hit, had to be euthanized at the scene. Later in the year, 77-year-old Leslie L. Patrick pleaded guilty to reckless driving and cruelty to animals after he admitted to bumping several cows and another cowboy on horseback with his car during the same cattle drive. Patrick, a former cowboy himself, told police he was hurrying through the herd because his wife was having an asthma attack.

An eight-month-old puppy named Murphy was returned to an Elizabeth family last January after he'd been snatched out of the back of their truck by a couple who later tried to sell him to a pet shop. A store employee had heard about the dognapping, though, and called police, who arrested the couple. Five days after Murphy made it back home, he was hit by a car and killed in Aurora.

Renee Black, 28, a volunteer at the Prairie Wind Wild Animal Refuge near Kiowa, found her right arm being devoured by a Siberian tiger named Boris after she reached into the cage to show a friend how harmless the animal was. Although other volunteers rushed to save her, Black nearly bled to death before a helicopter got her to the hospital. Since the May 20 incident -- which inspired an investigation by the Colorado Department of Wildlife and the U.S. Department of Agriculture into unauthorized tours and animal-care violations -- Black has repeatedly blamed herself for Boris's banquet and pleaded with officials not to euthanize the tiger.


In December, Andrew Michael Shaw, 28, was sentenced to five years of probation and one hundred hours of community service for getting into a fistfight after he barked like a dog at a neighbor. Shaw, whose girlfriend told the judge that he often barks, was drunk at the time, police say, and became agitated after the neighbor told him to be quiet.

A 34-year-old Federal Heights woman who was arrested after a bank robbery in January may have used her thirteen-year-old daughter as a lookout, Arvada police said. According to witnesses, the woman had handed a note to the bank teller while her daughter stood by the door.

In March, a man accused of robbing the World Savings and Loan bank on South Colorado Boulevard was apprehended shortly after the theft a few doors away at the Healthy Habits restaurant, where he was eating a salad. Bank employees had followed Stephen Munce after he left the bank with about $1,000. He was about ten bucks lighter when they found him.

A Watkins woman who divorced her husband after he allegedly tried to have her killed decided to remarry him this past April. Thomas Mason had been accused of offering an undercover cop $5,000 to kill Stephanie Mason in 1998. The happy couple credited their reconciliation to faith in God.

In April, Englewood police arrested 350-pound Darrell L. Moore and accused him of lying on his wife during an argument and suffocating her to death. The thirty-year-old Moore told police the couple had been arguing about money and beer.

Three Aspen men were arrested in March after police said they shot a woman in the buttocks with a staple gun. The woman was not injured.

Thomas A. Robinson, 26, was arrested in July and charged with growing more than fifty pot plants on open-space property belonging to the City of Boulder. Sheriff's deputies were tipped off to the ganja garden after they repeatedly saw a man carrying a five-gallon water bag in the area near Eldorado Springs.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.