A father and son working for different Penobscot County police departments were faced with unusual animal encounters on separate occasions this week.

Those rescues, often handled by animal control officers or Maine game wardens, have garnered quite a bit of attention on social media.

At about 8 a.m. Tuesday, Old Town police Sgt. Ryan Bailey and Deputy Chief Lee Miller responded to a call about an errant sheep at a home on King Street. The sheep had wandered onto the caller’s property, and the caller had corralled the male ruminant mammal on a back porch.

Bailey suspected it belonged in a pasture a few blocks away on Jefferson Street.

Deputy Chief Lee Miller, who lives on a farm and has experience handling farm animals, looped a dog leash around the animal’s neck and used it to guide the wandering fellow to the back of the cruiser.

Unlike human suspects, the sheep was allowed to poke his head through the sliding panel between the back and front seats that protects police officers while driving and bleated out what might have been directions to his home.

Miller used his phone to make a video of the unusual suspect that was later posted to the police department’s Facebook page.

The officers never learned the sheep’s name but were able to return him home.

He did leave a calling card behind, Bailey said.

“Deputy Chief Miller, who is used to being around farm animals, cleaned up the cruiser,” the sergeant said.

Twenty miles south and 24 hours later, Bailey’s father, Hampden Public Safety Director Chris Bailey, dealt with a potentially more harrowing rescue on Coldbrook Road.

At about 7 a.m. Wednesday, Bailey and investigator Bill Miller responded to a traffic hazard call on the heavily traveled street between Route 202 and Main Road North. The hazard was a skunk with a plastic container stuck on its head that had been wandering onto the road during the morning rush hour.

The elder Bailey and Miller used a broom to try to keep the animal off the road, trying to avoid being sprayed, while they waited to see if a game warden was available for backup.

While strategizing about how to get the container off the omnivore’s head without alarming it, a woman wearing blue medical scrubs pulled over and jumped out of her car.

“She showed no fear when she walked right up to the skunk, removed the bottle from its cranium, and fled, all without being sprayed,” Bailey, the Hampden chief, posted on the department’s Facebook page. “I think I saw the thanks in the skunk’s eyes as it ran faster than I have ever seen a skunk run (towards the woods this time).”

The Good Samaritan scampered back to her car and headed to work without giving the officers her name or explaining where she learned her skunk-wrangling skills.

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