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Thursday, November 1, 2012

An ACO Halloween Tail

Odd things happen on swing shifts. Why would I think a Full moon on Halloween would be any different? I spent the early part of my shift creeping slowly through neighborhoods as young parents herded little superheroes, princesses, witches and ghouls along sidewalks and house to house. My first few calls were fairly routine, loose dogs and a couple deceased animals that needed to be picked up so they don't disturb the evenings festivities. Things quieted down for me after the sun went down. I took a break to get bite to eat.
As I was finishing up I got a call for a wild animal in house. I asked what kind and was told they weren't sure. I smiled, at least it wasn't a skunk. I was so not in a mood to smell like skunk the rest of the night. When I got there the woman was freaking out about a squirrel in her back enclosed patio. OF coarse I searched and found nothing.
My next call was a sheriff assist for a loose aggressive dog. Sheriff asked for an ETA so I told them about 20 minutes. When I arrived Sheriff wasn't there yet. I talked to a couple neighbors who were out, as still many trick or treaters and their parents still were. They told me they had heard that there was a black shepherd running loose somewhere in the neighborhood but hadn't seen it. Sheriff rolled up and said they had driven around and found nothing either. Most likely the owners caught the dog and took it home. I exchanged pleasantries with the deputies and drove off.I headed back to the shelter to get a little paperwork done hopefully before the next call came in. Of coarse, just as I got there I got another call. The shepherd again. Dispatch reported that this time the dog bit someone and was still loose. So back to the neighborhood I headed. Sheriff wouldn't be able to respond this time.
After a quick sweep of the neighborhood again and finding nothing I went to the victims house. I knocked several times on the door. No answer. Just as I was going to leave I heard a woman's voice call from an upstairs window. The woman told me to come around to the stairs on the other side of the house. The house was a split level duplex house. As I passed the double garage doors I heard something banging around in the garage, things being knocked over, then silence. The woman told me her downstairs tenant came home ranting about a dog biting him. He went into his house and a little later she heard him yelling and then she said she heard him downstairs in the garage, things slamming around and she though she heard a dog making whining noises. She was insistant that her tenant didn't have a dog. I asked her if she had seen the dog. She hadn't. I wondered if the guy had caught the bite dog and put it in the garage. I asked the landlady again if she was sure that he didn't have a dog. She assured me that he didn't. I asked her if there was any way I could see into the garage from outside? She told me that there were no windows into the garage, however there was a door down to the doors that led to each side of the garage.
I opened the door to the staircase and headed down. It was quiet. I just wanted to get a peek to see if it was the black shepherd that had been reported earlier. I heard rustling around in the garage. I flicked the light switch on and reached for the door. The rustling stopped. I opened the door slowly, only a crack. It squeaked a little as I pulled the door open a little, just enough to peer in. I listened and didn't hear anything moving. But a slight shadow or movement on the other side of the car I saw the tip of a pointed black ear. I knew I should have brought a catch pole with me before I went down to the garage. I closed the door and went back up the stair to the land lady's apartment. I told her that I saw a dog in there and I would be right back with my catch pole. She again insisted that he didn't have a dog.
I got my catch pole and headed back up to the apartment. I was going to have to catch pole the dog then have the landlady open the garage door for me to let me and the dog out. When I got back to her apartment I told her what I would need her to do. She was a little hesitant but agreed. I released the loop and opened the door heading down to the garages. I was stopped dead in my tracks in the doorway.
I slammed the door shut and twisted the dead bolt into place. I shoved the bewildered landlady towards her front door. I frantically told her to run to the neighbors and call 911 and stay there! My heart was hammering in my chest. As I got the landlady out the door there was a thud at the garage door. "GO!" I yelled at her as another louder thud hit the dead bolted door. As the landlady went down the stairs I pulled her front door closed behind me and followed her down. I grabbed my radio out of the holster and called dispatch. I requested sheriff assistance code 3 and gave the address. I could hear up in the apartment the sound of banging and a crash. I glanced over and watched the land lady disappear into the neighbor's front door. I got to my truck and trying to keep an eye on the upstairs apartment door I got my shotgun out. I loaded several rounds into magazine, something I never do. I could hear the shrieks and laughter of kids down the street. Trick or Treaters still out and about. I called dispatch again, where were the deputies??
I could hear crashing and the breaking of glass. The lights in the windows wavered and flickered. An indistinguishable shadow briefly passed a window. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I could hear the trick or treaters getting closer and still no sirens. I stood behind my truck hood with my shotgun pointed towards the apartment door. I tried to tell myself this must have been some kind of Halloween prank. A Joke. This couldn't be real. But something kept my heart racing, and my skin crawling. I got on the phone and called dispatch. Where are the deputies? No. It's a do I even begin to describe this?...It's a large wild animal? Sure sure , call Fish and Game too! But get the deputies ASAP!! I'm told they are on their way. Just about then I hear sirens. I think I finally took a breath. The sounds of furniture breaking suddenly stopped. The sirens got closer and dogs in the neighborhood began to bark and howl. Red and blue lights lit up the night, splashing across the walls of the house as one then two patrol cars pulled up.
The deputies looked bewildered as they got out of their cars and saw me with a shot gun trained on the upstairs apartment. Their hands went to their sidearms and they both looked up at the apartment door. I tried to explain what I saw. I could tell they thought I was either a victim of a Halloween prank, imagining things or just plain crazy. I heard another siren for an additional unit coming. Then we heard it. A single long loud howl coming from the upstairs apartment. The deputies were taken aback by the sound. The crashing resumed in the apartment and one light went out, then another. It was the heavy banging against the front door that caused the deputies to unholster their weapons. One deputy got on his radio and called for additional units. The third unit arrived and another deputy yelled at him to grab his shotgun.
In a few minutes , the street was filled with police cruisers and neighbors coming out to see what the commotion was. Deputies told people to go back into their homes. I heard that the story circulating was a bad guy was hold up in the apartment. They had no idea. Fish and Game arrived. They spoke with me first and I told them the events of the night and what I saw. They and a deputy went and spoke to the landlady. Was it possible that the tenant had a illegally kept animal? A dog? No. A Bear? No. Where was the tenant? His car was in the garage. There was another loud crash and a large shadow passed the dimly lit window. And another bone chilling howl. Everyone seemed to look at each other. Was this really happening? You could practically read every ones thoughts. This couldn't be real. This was a elaborate prank. With multiple guns trained on the apartment at this time, several spotlights were put into position.
An entry team was assembling when the banging against the front door started again. The door suddenly gave a load crack and splintered as it exploded outward. The large form launched itself from the top landing towards the deputies below. One shot erupted into what seemed to be a hundred. In mid air the animal snarled, screamed and reached out as it was hit multiple times until it crumpled to the ground. I lost sight of the form as a sea of uniforms formed a semi circle weapons still aimed. It was hard to distinguish what was happening from my position, still behind the hood of my truck. Radio chatter, excited voices yelling, cussing and gasps. Then suddenly silence, other than the chatter on the radios. The silence broke again back to more excited voices and yelling. There was movement and after a few minutes I was finally able to catch a glimpse of the form laying on the ground. A hand touched my arm from behind and nearly made me jump. I looked behind me and saw the face of the land lady. He hand was at her mouth covering a gasp of horror and her eyes fixed on the form laying on the ground. Her voice cracked and waived as she spoke. It was the nude body of her tenant.
I had to stay on scene for awhile as everything was processed, statements were taken and I was finally released. My shift was over and still a little shaken I was finally able to head home. I was taking off my duty belt to hang up for the night when I noticed the light of my video camera that I carry on my belt was blinking on. I didn't remember turning it on but it was possible that I accidently turned it on. I sat down in my chair and watched what had transpired earlier that evening. I had managed to catch a shot of the creature on the staircase when I first saw it. Here's what my camera captured.

As I starred at the image on my camera and recalled the events, something struck me. If this creature was the tenant who was bitten earlier, where was the original biter?
Happy Halloween!
(Yes of coarse the above story is a tail of fiction I came up with when I found this picture on the internet. I have not been able to find the original source of the photo so that credit can be given where credit is due. I hope you enjoyed my tail. Happy Halloween!)


  1. Awesome story. At first I thought it was going to be about the coyote in the garage from the other day. Hope you had a relatively safe and uneventful Halloween.

  2. You got me! Recycle this story on April fool's Days so I can not get got!

  3. Amazing writing, good job.

  4. Hey! You can find the original image at

    The maker of that costume made a collage of the mask:

    Neat story!