Every country in the world has their own criminal justice system to ensure that those who commit crimes are arrested, tried and locked up. This is so that the public can be better protected, as they will be safe from the criminal being able to commit further crimes and to serve as a deterrent to others who might want to emulate the actions of the wrongdoer and commit crimes of their own. Additionally, sending someone to prison gives the authorities a chance to try to educate and rehabilitate them to change their behavior. It therefore makes sense that one of the principle roles of the police is to arrest those that are suspected of criminal activity.
While they often do a very good job, the police do not always get it right. It has been known in rare cases for authorities to go a little off the rail and behave in strange ways. One of the most bizarre things that officers have done in the line of duty is to arrest animals for a number of alleged reasons. Sometimes it is because they live in a part of a world that believes in black magic or because they are uneducated and under-trained. Whatever the case, animal arrests have taken place in a number of locations around the world and for some surprising reasons.
10 Cat Smuggler
In 2013, prison guards at a facility in the European country of Moldova became suspicious of a cat that seemed to frequently travel within the walls of the building through a small hole in a fence. Upon seizing the cat, the staff realized that it was carrying a number of small bags of cannabis. The cat was then taken into custody to prevent it from being used to smuggle drugs into the prison in the future. The guards who captured the animal believed that it was trained by a resident of a local village specifically to smuggle the drugs into the prison, although police could not initially identify its owner.
9 Vandalizing Goats
Police in India detained a number of goats in 2013, when they persistently damaged their patrol cars. The new car, which was just two days old, was badly damaged by the animals after it was left near a police station that borders a field where farmers traditionally leave goats to graze. According to reports from officials, up to 12 goats climbed on the car, destroying the wipers, scratching the paintwork, denting the body and smashing some of the glass. After the police came out to investigate, they found three of the offending goats and locked them up while they looked for their owner before later handing the goats over to an animal welfare group.
8 Assaulting Donkey
Following an incident in which two men were injured, police in Mexico arrested and detained a local donkey. The animal was then locked up in a cell normally used for humans who have been causing a public nuisance, usually drunks. The police force released a statement explaining that they would arrest anyone who committed a crime, regardless of their species. During the attack, the donkey bit one man and kicked another in the chest before finally being subdued by six men. Police then locked it up until the owner could sufficiently compensate the men for their medical costs.
7 Immigrant Monkey
Officials in Pakistan captured and detained a small monkey in 2011, after it illegally crossed into the country from India. Rather than simply releasing it back into the wild, the government placed the animal into a zoo, making it a severe change in what the monkey was accustomed to, as it had never been in captivity before. The arrest stirred controversy with animal rights groups who argued that the arrest was unfair as the monkey was not subject to normal border crossing rules. Obviously the monkey had no concept of boundaries that were created entirely by humans and would not know that it was not permitted to roam into the land.
6 Pigeon Spy
A pigeon was arrested in 2010 by Indian police, after it was captured by a member of the public. The authorities feared that the bird was part of a spying mission, as it had Pakistan details attached to it and was apparently unknown to the area. Officials from the government also gave strict orders about dealing with the pigeon once it was in captivity. Visitors were not permitted to see the bird because police were afraid that it may pass on messages. It also went through a medical examination to ensure it was free of any spying devices and was kept under constant police guard, something that most criminals would not normally be subject to.
5 Prison Break Cat
Guards at a prison in Brazil arrested a cat in January of 2013, after it was seen crossing the main gate of the facility. Upon inspection, the prison guards found that the cat was carrying a number of items in a specially made coat. These included various materials that could be used to facilitate an escape attempt, such as files and drill bits, along with a mobile phone and accessories. After the search, the cat was later released into the care of an animal center so it would not be able to be used by its owner for more nefarious means. The police also confirmed that it would be incredibly difficult to track down the owner of the animal, considering it was (obviously) unable to reveal any information to them.
4 Thief Goat
Nigerian police arrested a goat in 2009 on charges of robbery. A group of vigilantes had handed the animal over to authorities as they believed it had been involved in a number of armed robberies. They also alleged that the goat was in fact really a person who had used black magic to transform into a goat in order to evade justice. This power is something that is commonly believed in Nigeria. Representatives for the police told conflicting stories, with some claiming that the goat was being detained while an investigation took place, and another explained that it was only being held in case its owner came to claim it.
3 Killer Cow
A Nigerian cow was arrested after it killed a bus driver on a motorway in 2005. Although cows are usually peaceful, they have been known to viciously attack if provoked. According to police reports, the animal attacked the bus driver from behind while he was urinating and bludgeoned the man with its hooves and horns. It also injured a number of other people who were attempting to intervene. Police then arrived and detained the cow amid protests from locals that it should be shot on the spot, and began a search for its owner so that he could also be charged with failing to control the creature.
2 Biting Monkey
Jimmy was a monkey that was owned by an organ grinder by the name of Cassio Dillio to perform in the street. According to an archived New York Times article, the monkey was performing one day when he was approached by a woman called Mary who gave him a sweet before taking it away from him while Jimmy was attempting to eat it. Although the woman was only trying to play with the monkey, the report states Jimmy reacted angrily and bit her, leading to the arrest of both the owner and animal. While the monkey was charged with assault, a judge later threw the case out when it went to trial.
1 Elephant Murderer
In 2013, an elephant in India was arrested for the apparent killing of three women when it rampaged during a parade at a temple celebration. The animal was captured by state authorities and kept in captivity until the magistrate court could decide its future. The owner was eventually able to secure the release of the elephant through bail by paying a fine and guaranteeing that it would not engage in any further criminal activities. The elephant, which goes by the name of Thechikottukavu Ramachandran, now has two unique records in India. It was the first ever elephant to be arrested by police and is now the only animal to be charged with murder and subsequently released on bail.