Monday, August 1, 2011

You're never too old to stand up to bad animals

Phyllis Johnson had not only lived peaceably with kangaroos for all of her 94 years, she'd even occasionally done them a favor.

"I used to feed them next door, give them some bread," the Australian woman told the Courier-Mail, "and they've always been so gentle."

But when a male red kangaroo came looking for trouble when she was hanging out the laundry in her backyard, neither her age nor her history of consideration toward his species meant anything to him.

"It was taller than me and it just ploughed through the clothes on the washing line straight for me," she said.

The animal knocked her over and kicked her, but the young hooligan had picked the wrong old lady to mess with. She fought back.

"I happened to have a broom nearby and I just started swinging at it. I bashed it on the head but it kept going for me, not even the dog would help, it was too frightened."

Johnson succeeded in crawling away and escaping into her home, where she waited while the animal continued to rage outside. Her son arrived, and, unable to drive the beast away with a stick, called police.

The roo was unimpressed by their authority and went for the two officers as well. Thinking quickly, one of them tried an unconventional counterattack: he sprayed the creature with his pepper spray.

Using pepper spray on wildlife isn't a standard part of police training, even in Australia where it seems like nearly all the animals can kill you and they probably need all the help they can get. But the unconventional approach was effective - in the sense that the beast's attack was diverted towards the other officer. Fortunately, he was armed with the spray as well.

Wildlife officers finally captured the attacker, who was reportedly being examined by a vet before a decision was made about his fate. We can only hope, after reading of this animal's merciless victimization of the elderly, that psychological exams are included.

Although it has to be said that Johnson hardly sounds helpless and frail. Despite being bruised and bleeding, she had to be persuaded to go to the hospital.

"My son made me," she said. "I'm okay, although the roo took a chunk of flesh out of my leg and there's a chance they'll have to operate."

Photo of sign that has got the problem exactly backwards by Flickr user The Rohit.

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