Strange but True Animal Stories of 2016

Many of the issues that dominated local headlines in 2015, including homelessness, the rising cost of housing and a steady influx of transplants, continued to be hot topics this year. But from an unpredictable, insane election to the media frenzy over the twentieth anniversary of JonBenét Ramsey’s death, 2016 threw out plenty of curveballs. Keep reading for strange but true stories from the past year that once again prove that truth is definitely stranger than fiction.

Four canines were the possible culprits behind a fire that burned down a Colorado Springs home in February. The likely cause? The hungry little guys were trying to steal some pizza and chicken wings that were on a gas stove. “The exact circumstances in which the burner was activated are unclear,” Colorado Springs Fire Department Captain Steve Oswald wrote in an e-mail to the Denver Post. “However, it is possible that one of the four dogs present inside the home at the time of the fire may have activated the control knob for the gas burner while attempting to retrieve food from the stovetop.” In his 26 years of firefighting, Oswald said, he’s seen three others cases of hungry dogs starting fires after trying to get food from the top of a stove. There’s a lesson for dog owners in this story, but we just can’t figure out what it is.

An elk charged the window of a home in Niwot in February, possibly after being spooked by its own reflection. Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the home after getting a report of an aggressive ten-point (read: big-ass) elk. But when deputies arrived, the elk appeared calm; one officer even snapped a picture of the big guy sitting peacefully next to the house.

In January, it took eight firefighters to free a cow that had fallen through ice covering a creek. Poor Bessie was frozen when Greeley firefighters found her in an eight-foot-deep part of the stream, but she walked away with only minor cuts.

An iguana was denied entry into the Boulder County Justice Center in June after its owner put it through the X-ray machine. “Unfortunately, it is not the first time someone tried to put an animal through the X-ray,” a Boulder County Sheriff spokeswoman told the Daily Camera. “Sometimes people do put through strange things in there.”
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.