The bat is a much maligned creature.  Hollywood has made them into blood-sucking monsters preying upon human hosts. It is noteworthy to say there is a species of bats that prey upon cattle for their blood in Central and South America.

In this country, each evening, bats eat ten to fifteen times their body weight in insects.  In that sense, they should replace the dog as “man’s best friend.”  But the Hollywood myth prevails and generally people are terrified of them.  Of course, if they are rabid, that’s a whole other story. Generally, they come through an open window or down a chimney which results in a family that is terror-stricken.  CALL THE POLICE!

I can remember almost every topic covered in my police academy training. Getting rid of bats was not one of them.  But we are called and we must deal with these fliers.



One early evening in the summer, a ‘bat-call’ was received and I was sent to the address.  When I arrived, the family was terrorized and the children were screaming from the second story bedroom.  Their mother was in the grips of fear as she frantically yelled at me that, “You can shoot him if you want.”

Looking around, I saw French Impressionist paintings on the walls, Maurice Villenncy furniture, an Italian leather sofa, and a motorized lounge chair. The chair alone cost what I made last month. So, there will be no shooting.


I asked if I could have a broom and a paper bag.  I was directed into the kitchen closet and found what I needed.  The living room, with fireplace that was the bat’s means of entry, was a 20’ x 30’ room. It had fifteen foot ceilings and … there it was!

The winged creature was flying around in circles. It wasn’t hitting anything, of course, due to its remarkable radar-like sense. I am told that is where the idea of radar came from.  I didn’t want to hurt the bat, so I got lucky and swatted it to the floor. It was stunned, I was able to move it into the paper bag.

I went outside to release it, first on the ground, and as it regained consciousness, it flew off like a bat, ”Out of hell!!”  I was tempted to sing “Born Free” but my voice isn’t that melodious.  Giving the family the ‘all clear,’ they all came downstairs and were very grateful that I had, ‘saved the day.’

They were disappointed that I didn’t kill the bat but rather, that I released it into the night. Although they didn’t inquire, I am sure they were also disappointed that they saw no crucifix, no Holy water or wooden stakes.



Dogs can be a helluva time waster.  I was asked to serve a warrant. I approached the flimsy screen door.  On the other side of a was a growling, barking, and hair-standing-up-on-its-back pit bull with ME in its sights.  I asked the woman to secure the dog or, “It will be sprayed.”

Pepper spray sometimes works but often has NO EFFECT on animals.  I can tell you this as a runner. I generally run with a can of pepper spray with me to use on dogs that were incensed because I was running past their residence. They would come towards me to, intending to take a bite out of MY hind-quarter.  I would spray them and, like Quint’s comment in “JAWS” about sharks, “Sometimes they go away, and sometimes they don’t.”

Of course, dog owners always say, “Oh, he’s OK.  He doesn’t bite.”  I always embraced the general axiom that, “Anything with teeth, bites.”  THIS DOG was proudly showing me his sharp, pointed, pearly whites.

The owner would NOT secure the dog and it finally broke free of the flimsy screen storm door. It was coming directly at me on their porch and I sprayed it.  The animal was stunned for a couple of seconds and then ran inside.

The owner must have cuddled her pet before talking to me because she came out rubbing her eyes and coughing asking hysterically “WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY DOG?”

I responded by saying, “I asked you to secure it several times and you allowed it to come after me. I was forced to take action. The effects will wear off in about twenty minutes.”  I handed her the warrant but she was more annoyed about the Cap-Stun spray of her dog than the court papers.

In the case of dog bites, they get one bite for free and I was determined not to be that one.



On a lighter note, I was asked to do a WELFARE CHECK on an elderly resident whose children hadn’t heard from her in a few days.  I knocked on the side door of her home and heard, “Come in.”  I walked in, looked around and said “POLICE!!!” a number of times. Finally, I walked upstairs only to find an elderly woman at her sewing machine, and she screamed at my appearance.

She was startled and asked who let me in. I told her I knocked and was greeted with someone saying, “Come in.”  She responded by saying she had been sewing upstairs and then burst into laughter.

Apparently, she had a parrot downstairs who had learned that a knock on the door would always be followed by the owner saying, “Come in.”  The bird learned quite well and allowed me to enter.

I told the lady why I was there. She checked her phone only to find the line dead.  I told her I would call her telephone (cable) company to get it fixed.



Another incident involving an animal happened one warm summer afternoon when our dispatcher sent me to check on a, “Loose horse in the roadway.”  Car/horse accidents can be deadly for both the horse AND the motorist so I responded ASAP.

There it was, in the middle of the road.  Every time someone approached it, it would bolt away.  Once again, no mention was made of capturing loose horses when I was in the Police Academy, so this was completely improvised.

I had an apple which I was hoping to have for lunch. I approached the horse with my hand outstretched, the apple perched on my FLAT hand.  Now I grew up in the Bronx, so horses and horseback riding was foreign to me.  I knew instinctively that animals do get hungry and I decided to play on that hunger.

Thankfully, it saw the apple, approached me slowly and started eating it right out of my hand. One thing that I was taught is  DO NOT hold the apple in your fingers because a horse doesn’t know where the apple begins and your fingers end.  As it was munching on the apple, I slowly grabbed the reigns and lead the animal to the owner, who had arrived on the scene by this time.

A crowd had formed that was made up of drivers out of their cars, homeowners wondering what all the commotion was about and a couple of State Troopers.  One resident was very impressed and told me, “Wow!  You were so cool and collected.  You obviously knew what to do and probably have done this many times before.  Right?”  I answered, “Well, we’re prepared for just about any possible incident.”  She shook my hand, as did others witnessing this rescue.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that this was the first time I had been close to a horse.  Fifteen hundred pound animals have all my respect, but fortunately, they do get hungry.



Like the caged bird in the coal mine, the hungry horse looking for something to eat or the guard dog on the property, animals can save lives and be wonderful companions.  Sometimes they make for interesting stories and funny anecdotes, as well.

For those of you still on patrol, always be careful, treading prudently and respect the animal for what it is.

I pray to St. Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of Police Officers, every chance I get and light a candle after Sunday Mass for him to watch over us all.

 “Above all, it’s about going home at the end of the shift … “

We couldn’t agree more.



Anthony enjoys hearing from his readers – EMAIL

Cartoon compliments of Steve Burnette, Sun Mesa Studios,

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