On this date …
1976: A coyote, a monkey, a raccoon and a Tasmanian devil had been returned to their homes at Clovis’ Hillcrest Park Zoo, but only after several dramatic chases. Devil chase
Officials said someone with wire cutters had freed the animals from their cages overnight.
Police were first notified a coyote was roaming the streets near Ash and 14th. After a lengthy chase, five uniformed officers cornered the animal in an alley at Sycamore and Seventh streets.
Limey Thomas, who lived at 1102 E. Seventh, heard about the pursuit and brought his rope to the standoff.
Thomas lassoed the coyote and it was whisked away in an animal control truck.
The monkey never strayed far from home. A boy named Lonnie Thebodeau saw it on top of the monkey cages and climbed up to capture it.
“Unfortunately, the monkey was as frightened as Lonnie was brave,” the Clovis News-Journal reported.
“It cut the boy’s left cheek quite severely, necessitating 13 stitches at the hospital.”
A zoo attendant then used a water hose to chase the monkey back into its cage.
The Tasmanian devil — a marsupial the size of a small dog — was spotted playing in Hillcrest Park’s trees by Clovis High School band students who were having a Sunday afternoon barbecue.
They notified police who failed in repeated attempts to bring the critter down with a tranquilizer gun.
The fire department then came in with high-pressure water hoses.
“I’d bet they sprayed enough water at him to put out three house fires,” Police Officer Scott Price said. But the animal remained in the trees.
Finally, a firefighter on a ladder hooked a rope around a tree branch and shook it until the animal fell.
“Its fall was broken by four boys who caught it in a blanket,” CN-J reported.
The raccoon was located at 1709 Wilshire, where it was lured by bags of salted peanuts and captured peacefully.
Zoo officials reported a second coyote was still missing.