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Animal attacks are talk of town

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#1    JayRob303


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Posted 28 July 2005 - 06:39 PM

Stephen Elliott
July 26, 2005
Quad-Cities Online, IL

GENESEO - The story has been the talk of the town in recent weeks -- a
tale of big cats, horses, and large birds.

In Geneseo, it has been discussed by fans between innings at Bollen
Field or downtown at the local bar. The story grows as it's retold -- the
dead emu found in a farmer's tree, a horse mysteriously attacked, and
animals of prey lurking somewhere among us.

"As the story started growing, people were coming to me," said rural
Geneseo resident and emu owner John Puentes. "We must have gotten 25 or
30 phone calls.

"Rumors got widespread. Joggers on the (Hennepin) canal wanted to know
if there was a cat around here. Then the sheriff came out here."

What is known is this: On May 10, the Illinois Department of Natural
Resources investigated a report of a horse attacked on a farm in rural

The farm, near Mr. Puentes' residence northeast of town, had a horse
with wounds on its back. After investigating the incident, DNR officials
concluded it was an unconfirmed animal attack.

"The wounds on the horse were consistent with getting tangled in barbed
wire, but there was no barbed wire in the area," said DNR spokesperson
Gayle Simpson, Springfield. "We investigated the site.

"We looked for everything from hair to broken teeth. We found no
evidence. There had been a heavy rain at the time the attack happened, so it
also meant there were no tracks to look at.

"There was no conclusive evidence to say what kind of animal it was
that attacked (the horse)."

At about the same time as the horse incident, farmer Daryl DeGerengel
was preparing to plant soybeans on a nearby field. As he pulled off a
country road into his field, he saw what "looked like the lower portion
of an emu leg lying in the grass in the gateway.

"Whether it was butchered or a coyote dragged it there, I have no clue.
Really, that's about all I know.

"Maybe someone did see one in a tree. We saw a leg in our field. I
never thought any more about it."

Mr. Puentes said he had calls about an emu on the loose in Geneseo this
spring, but it wasn't one of his. Emus are more than 5 feet tall and
weigh about 100 pounds.

"They have big feet with big nails," Mr. Puentes said. "When you catch
one to be butchered, it's not a fun job. It's seems like someone is
getting hurt or scratched."

Whatever happened to the missing emu is still a mystery in Geneseo. So
is what caused the horse's injuries.

Henry County Sheriff Gib Cady has had calls over the years reporting
cougars in the county.

"There are cougars," Sheriff Cady confirmed. "Coyotes always eat from
the gut. It's very easy to see something killed and eaten by a coyote.

"I don't know about what cougars will chomp on."

From his investigations and talks with conservation experts, Sheriff
Cady said it is unlikely anyone would see such an animal in this area.

"My own personal advice is if you're there, they're not going to be,"
the sheriff said of cougars. "I would worry more about a rabid skunk in
the daytime or sticking my hand in a hole where a coon is sleeping."

Mr. Puentes doesn't have any worries about his emus. He has two collies
that will bark if something is going on.

"Still, I'm a little careful when I go out at night," he said.


"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."

'Even now in Heaven there are Angles carrying savage weapons.' - Saint Paul

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