January 20, 2012

You'd think the meaning of "no pets" in a lease would be pretty clear to most renters. But some, it seems, are truly confused - or just plain dumb.

One night in the summer of 1986 I got the strangest call in my tenure as Chief of Police at Barton College. It was from the town police asking me if I would investigate something for them on campus. They received a call from an hysterical dorm resident claiming she'd spotted a full-grown lion walking in the parking lot.

"Couldn't be," I told them. But I agreed to see what was going on. As I walked toward the student parking lot I began hearing strange sounds roaring, to be exact coming from the area.

After some investigation, I found that a guy had just moved into an apartment house near campus. He had gotten a lion cub years before. But as the creature grew, it needed more exercise than was available in the confines of his apartment. He remedied the problem by taking the animal out for strolls in the parking lot at 2 a.m.

I made a hasty call back to the police and told them it was indeed a full grown lion. They responded by sending not only animal control but six squad cars and the fire department - complete with lights and sirens. I needn't tell you that it wasn't long before the whole campus was out of bed and enjoying the entertainment.