Colorado Springs SWAT Sniper Called In To Deal With Escaped Bison

If Denver's (no longer accurate) reputation is that of a 'cow town,' what does that make Colorado Springs? Based on the city's bizarre run-ins with bison, we submit Colorado Springs adopt the noble creature as its mascot. Now we just have to convince the city to stop sending SWAT teams after ones that escape.

In an incident now known as the 'Great bison massacre of 2005,' five of the animals -- each weighing close 1,000 pounds -- escaped from the G&C meatpacking plant in western Colorado Springs. The creatures holed up in a nearby backyard where officers, afraid the animals could spook, stampede through the city, and hurt bystanders, decided to put them down.

83 bullets and approximately $30,000 in collateral damage later (no one was hurt), officers realized their .223 caliber bullets didn't have the oomph necessary to do the job safely and effectively. CSPD learned from the incident and updated their response policy accordingly.

So on January 31, when a bison again wrangled its way out of G&C meatpacking, officers knew what to do. The animal stopped on 21st street, where "Officer John Havenar, a SWAT sniper, shot and killed the animal with a single shot from his high-powered rifle," writes the Gazette.

Tranquilizers are rarely used in these situations because there's no guarantee a tranquilizer would knock the animal completely out, reports KOAA. Instead the animal could be startled and go on a rampage. Colorado Springs police blotter from the night adds that "Bison are unpredictable and can get dangerously wild while running loose and are a danger to the community."

The Denver Post reports G&C employees recovered the carcass.

In December 2003, six buffalo also escaped in Colorado Springs. Three were killed as a result, according to the Gazette.