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Weird Animal News: Deer Hits Runner, Cow on Lam, Red Panda Escape and Bidding War for Half-Eaten Shoe — 2013 in Review

Plus, Vienna foxes are news hounds.

Rusty the red panda escaped from his home at the Smithsonian Zoo earlier this year, and was found in Adams Morgan. (Courtesy Photo)
Rusty the red panda escaped from his home at the Smithsonian Zoo earlier this year, and was found in Adams Morgan. (Courtesy Photo)

By Patch Staff

Editor's Note: Patch has 31 sites in Virginia and D.C., and not a day goes by that something weird isn't happening somewhere in the area. Here's a look back at some weird goings-on over the past year.


WaPo Wildly Popular: What is it about the Post that a group of foxes loves so well? The Oakdale Park neighborhood of Vienna is no stranger to foxes being out and about, but this year the animals were especially active. One result: a recurring pattern this summer of Washington Post newspapers pilfered by foxes before homeowners have a chance to retrieve them. The neighbors are howling.


Cow On the Lam: A pregnant Scottish Highland cow made a break for it from her farm on Winfield Road in Fairfax in July, and, despite several sightings, managed to elude animal control officers for days.


Dog Poop DNA: Neighbors not cleaning up after their pets? A Northern Virginia HOA president came up with a sure-fire way to make pet owners clean up their act: Register pets’ DNA to find out who is flouting the “pooper scooper” rules. And if that doesn’t work? Surveillance cameras.


Red Panda Lost and Found: Rusty, a Red Panda, took in a bit of Washington in June when he decided to leave the cozy confines of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and get a little sightseeing out of his system. The disappearance set off a manhunt, of sorts, after caretakers at the National Zoo took to Twitter to track down Rusty. Locals spotted him in Adams Morgan and he was returned to his home at the zoo.


Koi Kidnapping Caper: Fairfax County Police are searching for two men who reportedly stole approximately 400 koi fish from a corporate office pond in Herndon over several days in June. According to a news release, the men posed as pond maintenance workers.


Goats Save Cemetery: A herd of 58 "eco" goats chomped their way through a 1.6 acre-section of Congressional Cemetery, saving the Capitol Hill property from invasive plant species, one bite at a time. The eco goats grazed on vines, poison ivy, ground cover and fallen debris this summer. The cost to the cemetery was about $4,000, which may seem like a lot. But Paul Williams, president of Congressional Cemetery, says when you do the math, it breaks down to 25 cents per goat per hour.


Ouch! Watch Out for Flying Reindeer: A vehicle hitting an animal is not unusual, but Krystine Rivera's collision with a deer qualifies as nothing less than bizarre. Rivera was jogging on a path near the Dulles Greenway when an SUV driven by a 71-year-old woman struck a deer and sent it flying — right on top of Rivera.


Vincent Van Dog: Dogs destroy many shoes, but rarely do you get $378 out of the results. The half eaten shoe by Jack the Canine Artist sold on eBay for $378 in October, said owner Terrence Nowlin. A Dalmation mix, Jack managed to eat a portion of the left foot to a $200 pair of Cole Haan wingtips. Instead of being upset, Nowlin posted the shoe on eBay for fun.


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