Police shoot stuffed animal with Taser

Rogier says: It's not every day that police officers gang up on a toy cougar and taser it into submission. Such an event ought to be commemorated, don't you think? Annually, perhaps.

From redOrbit:

Police in Michigan responding to a report of a cougar on the loose said they ended up shooting a large toy cat with a Taser stun gun.

Warren police said the 911 caller said a "huge" animal resembling "a 150-pound cat" was spotted in an old cement drainpipe in Bates Park and 10 officers were sent to the scene, WDIV-TV, Detroit, reported Monday. The officers saw the outline of the animal in the pipe and shot it with a Taser.

Rogier's proposal:
[On]nce a year, in early May, we scour our attics and thrift shops for stuffed animals, then donate them to our local police force. It's optional to dress the toys in darling prison stripes, or tie cute bandanas around their furry necks that say things like "Do Tase Me Bro."

Then, at noon-time on May 18, we all gather in the main square to applaud the line of officers proudly brandishing their batons and tasers. They get to pummel the stuffing out of the pile of toys, and send thousand of volts through those fluffy bellies — as much as they like! No holding back!

Meanwhile, I propose that a marching band alternates between renditions of, say, Elvis Presley's "Teddy Bear" and Michael Jackson's "Beat It."

Wherein I Propose a National Cougar Day


  1. If any one event is required to highlight police officer’s taser-happy tendencies, this is it. I lol’d at this one.

  2. In this ONE case, I’m not sure the snarkiness (Rogier’s more than anyone’s, I guess) is really necessary. Hell, the possibility of a (live and wild) cougar, in a dark drainpipe? I’d be jumpy and scared, and I’m actually happy that they were willing to tase rather than…SHOOT IT WITH A GUN. I don’t like the taser-happiness of police at all, but this time, it’s better than the alternative.

    Making fun of them tasing a stuffed animal seems unnecessary, on par with making fun of the kid dropping his lunch tray in junior high.

  3. I am sure the police manual says the easiest way to subdue a large cat is to tase it. Seems like either they keep it in the sights of several competent and calm rifle marksmen on the chance it becomes truly dangerous, while waiting for expert animal control or zoo backup. I am curious if anyone considered how different the anatomy and physiology of a large cat would jive with a taser when they decided to try zany this idea out.

  4. @2 wouldn’t a tranquilizer be more appropriate? a taser wouldn’t subdue the animal enough to safely remove it. It wouldn’t even keep things in order while the tranq gun arrived. It seems like it could only make things worse and cause the animal pain.

  5. The only worse response to a large animal in a confined space would be to poke it with a stick (or maybe pepper spray).

    I’d rather the police erred on the side of caution in this instance but they could have been smarter about it.

  6. once again a police officer decided to use his taser like some sort of “solve every problem” wand without thinking it through.

    did he really think for one second that a tased cougar would be any safer then a non-tased cougar? did he think that recently shocked cougar was better then a perfectly still one? did he think he could shock a cougar and not have to immediately shoot it with a gun as it angrily charged him or worse, fled the scene into somebodies back yard?

    its not like you can tell them “hey, lay down and shut up or i’ll do it again”.

    no #2 the snarkiness is perfectly appropriate as this is yet one more example of bad taser use.

    A: cops have no business shooting anything at a cougar unless that animal is on the attack
    B: cops have no business shooting a taser unless it is a replacement for shooting a gun. anybody here want cops shooting anything that looks like a wild animal with a gun?

    tasers are not supposed to be used as punishment for disobeying a police officer, jail works just fine for that.

  7. heh! just the thought of some cop getting his rich deserts upon discovering what a cougar does when startled gives me a warm glow! Where DO they get this cretins from?

  8. Flashlight much? If you can’t see something well enough to tell whether it’s a cougar or a plushie or maybe an Alzheimer’s escapee, maybe tasing it isn’t a good idea.

    Also, did they consider consulting someone who knows about cougars? Cougars hunt solitary prey at dawn or dusk. A cougar would be terrified by a group of humans. And it would make a noise. A very loud noise.

  9. @Ian B: I strongly doubt that the cops get enough animal control calls to rationalize having access to tranquilizers. Also, outside of the movies, tranquilizers aren’t necessarily usable without some knowledge. Dosage is tricky, and varies(sometimes unexpectedly) between species and body sizes.

    As for tasers causing pain? By design: See page 19 of this manual. “The drivestun
    mode will not cause NMI and generally becomes primarily a pain compliance option.”

    Drive the X26C into the following areas for maximum effectiveness.
    Carotid (sides of neck) (see warning below).
    Brachial plexus tie-in (upper chest).
    Radial (forearm).
    Pelvic triangle (see warning below).
    Common peronial (Outside of thigh).
    Tibial (calf muscle).
    WARNING: Use care when applying a drive-stun to the neck or pelvic triangle. These areas
    are sensitive to mechanical injury (such as crushing to the trachea or testicles if applied
    forcefully). However, these areas have proven highly effective targets.

  10. I’m in favor of national cougar day.

    …oh wait, you didn’t mean attractive older women?

  11. So, the officers, were they relieved to find it was a stuffed animal, or a bit dissapointed?

  12. I have mixed opinions on this one. As others have mentioned, at least the police did not shoot it with a firearm. On the downside, not only did they fail to properly identify their target BEFORE using a taser, they also failed to think through the possible outcomes. Pound for pound, a cougar is one hell of a dangerous critter. i would be very surprised if it is as sensitive to shock as a human. Even if it is, what happens when the effect wears off? Thank goodness it was a stuffed toy.

    To me, the big problem here, and in many officer related shootings, seems to be an incredible lack of patience on the part of law enforcement. Recently in my area, a family called the police because their son was acting strangely. The police ended up shooting the young man dead in his bedroom. Could it have been handled in a more calm manner? Could the police have exercised some patience? It seems law enforcement escalates an encounter into violence the moment a citizen does not do exactly what they want them to do. Of course, we don’t hear about all the times law enforcement act with sound judgement and restraint. It may come as shock to many boingboingers, but it does happen. I just think it needs to happen more often.

  13. Phisrow@10: Warren Michigan has a population of 140,000, I’m pretty sure they have their own animal control department. In fact they do, and their phone number is (586)574-4806.

    Buncha cowboys.

  14. and just think, before the invention of the taser one of them would’ve had to sneak up and jab it with a stick. They probably would have chosen a junior member of the force to do this. “Git yer ass up there and jab it! If I have to tell you agin, yer gonna be bumped back to school crossin guard. Don’t fret none, if it runs at ya, ol Bubba here’ll shoot it with the shotgun.”

  15. Instead of a taser, it seems like the police could’ve gotten more use out of, say, one of those big flashlights they used to carry around with them.

    Not trying to tell them how to do their job, I’m just saying….

  16. As some have suggested that the fun is being made at the police’s use of tasers on a stuffed animal, I might suggest that people would equally mock them for shooting a tranq into a stuffed animal.

    I rarely find myself defending police actions, especially when they involve a taser. This time though, it seems like jumping on what Rogier himself even notes to be a minor embarrassment and making it a subject of mockery.

  17. @ needlemacher #19:

    …it seems like jumping on what Rogier himself even notes to be a minor embarrassment and making it a subject of mockery.

    The fact that this incident really amounts to an embarrassment is what makes it such a ripe subject for mockery. It wouldn’t be nearly as funny if the police had, say, tased a kid in a tigger costume.

  18. I’m still dumbfounded by the “what if it was a real cougar” possibility. Willingness to tase a 150lb cat without thinking about the probable consequences is what makes this worthy of mocking.

    May I propose the Russian Roulette Taser Edition Rules?

    1. Roll 1d6. On result of one (1), a live, male cougar is stuffed in a concrete drainpipe. Any other result (2 through 6), a life-sized stuffed cougar and a recording of an angry cougar is placed in the pipe.

    2. Tase whatever is in the pipe.

  19. Directly from the manual linked by phisrow:

    The nervous systems of animals differ greatly from human beings. The TASER X26C is
    designed to be effective on a human subject. Accordingly, it may not be as effective at
    incapacitating an animal as it is on a human being. The TASER X26C should not be used as
    sole protection from wild, uncontrollable, or attacking animals.

  20. Lol, I am with you on this one, police should be given something to focus their extremity on. What better than stuffed animals aiye, they should make it a regular, once a week. Atleast this way they will be satisfied and the unlucky police brutality victims will become lucky once again.

  21. @25 Yeah, sure. And if it had been a real cougar and it had died, no problem, more or less.

    However, if it doesn’t work, you have one angry wild animal within taser-range. And that’s not a good idea.

  22. Unfortunately #15 that just doesn’t make good news, but on the otherhand the police should have called up a animal control expert instead of trying to deal with it themselves.

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