Peggy Sue's Cafe in Ishpeming was buzzing with the news that had one patron so distressed she could hardly sleep on Monday night.
"Three o'clock this morning I was up thinking about the moose, said Ishpeming Township resident Pat Petersen.
Viewers expressed the same disbelief on TV6 TMs Web site, which was overrun with more than 300 comments. One Ishpeming resident asked, "Is there really nothing else that could be done besides euthanizing this animal?"
Ishpeming Police Chief Jim Bjorne says they tried...when the cow moose and her two calves were spotted on the 600 block of Vine Street at 8:30 a.m. on Monday morning.
"We pushed those moose east on that snowmobile trail out into the wooded area where they were safe. There were no congregations of people, no houses, no streets, said Chief Bjorne.
But by noon that day, the cow moose and one of her calves had reappeared near U.S. 41 and Third Street. A crowd gathered, traffic was blocked, and authorities tried to steer the moose across the highway. But when the calf suddenly separated from its mother, that's when the problem started.
Disoriented and frightened, the mother moose raced through an alley between Second and Third Streets with onlookers chasing after her both on foot and in cars. This chaos is what ultimately forced the DNR and Ishpeming Police to decide to euthanize the animal.
Chief Bjorne, who gave the order along with the DNR who actually shot the cow, say tranquilizers couldn't work with the public following her.
"The effective range on a tranquilizer gun is 30 to 40 yards really on a stationary object, not on an animal that is running at top speed through town, said DNR biologist Brian Roell.
The moose meat has since been donated to the Salvation Army and her calves, the DNR says, are capable of surviving without her; but both departments believe it was the public that bears the blame for this tragic outcome.