PETA applauds police for moose swingset rescue


BERLIN, N.H. (AP) – Free a moose, win an award.

It was all in day’s work for Berlin Police Lt. Jean LeBlanc and department maintenance man Don Valliere, who were honored Tuesday by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for their rescue last month of a young moose tangled in the chains of a backyard swingset in Milan.

After spotting the moose with the chains twisted around its neck, a homeowner called police. Lt. Jean LeBlanc responded. Needing backup, he called on Berlin Police maintenance man Don Valliere for help.

Valliere arrived, and bolt cutters in hand, climbed the swingset to free the moose. Meanwhile, LeBlanc documented the rescue: photos he snapped show Valliere balanced just a few feet from the moose, cutting the chains.

“It didn’t like the idea too much that I stayed close to it, but it stayed calm,” Valliere recalled. “The only thing I was nervous about was getting bit.”

Once freed, the uninjured moose walked slowly away. Valliere believed the moose was drawn to a hedge near the swingset, then became stuck.

PETA’s letter accompanying the “Compassionate Action” award praised the men’s work.

“Because of the swift and compassionate actions of these police department employees, not only was the moose rescued from a potentially deadly situation, but the resulting media coverage focused attention on the worth of individual animals and the peril they face when they wanted into urban areas,” it said.

AP-ES-04-05-06 1437EDT