Moose selfie lands man behind bars


Bull moose
Photo credit: Getty Images

Authorities have arrested a man for trying to pet and take a photo with a moose wandering around Spokane.

The moose was spotted Sunday by employees at the Holy Cross Cemetery. The workers immediately called the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to the scene.

According to the Spokesman Review, while the wildlife officers were trying to contain the agitated moose, 33-year-old Joseph Patterson allegedly approached the animal saying that he wanted to pet it and take a selfie with it. For those who are unaware, a “selfie” is a photo taken by oneself with a smartphone, usually only encapsulating the shoulders and up due to the limited extent of the arm’s reach.

The officers warned Patterson to step away, but the man refused to listen, moving forward anyway. When the officers tried to block Patterson, a brief struggle ensued. Patterson grabbed the officer’s stun gun and threw it away.

Spokane police were called to the scene and subsequently arrested Patterson for suspicion of assault and resisting arrest. They also found illegal prescription drugs on him.

Authorities did not say whether or not the moose was captured during the incident.

As bizarre as this debacle may sound, it is unfortunately, not as rare as one would hope. Just this past summer, Idaho Fish and Game officers endured a similar experience.

Late one Thursday night in Garden City a bull elk was spotted foraging in a vacant lot. By the time Fish and Game Conservation Officer Bill London had arrived, spectators had crowded around the elk, some even trying to take selfies with it. This close interaction was causing the elk to grow increasingly stressed and ultimately led the animal to run through the Garden City neighborhood.

“When people get this close to a wild animal, the stress not only creates potential harm to the animal and to the public,” London warned, and “the increased adrenaline can also make it difficult to tranquilize an animal.”

Officials were eventually able to keep people at a distance, allowing the elk to calm down. Fish and Game veterinarian Mark Drew then took the opportunity to tranquilize the elk. With the assistance of Garden City Police and Fish and Game employees, Conservation Officer Rob Brazie loaded the elk into a horse trailer and relocated it to a location north of Horseshoe Bend where it was released unharmed.


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