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The Associated Press

ISHPEMING, Mich. - An adult moose was shot and killed Monday when it became agitated after curious onlookers followed it around a Michigan town and authorities decided the animal posed a safety risk, police said.
Police Chief Jim Bjorne ordered his officers to shoot the moose after authorities struggled for hours to herd the animal and its two calves away. He said the 1,000-pound mother became unruly and posed a safety risk after 100 to 200 spectators began following it around Ishpeming, a town about 362 miles northwest of Detroit.
"We would not have had to kill that cow moose if the public did not act like the paparazzi chasing it around like it was some type of Hollywood movie star," Bjorne told The Mining Journal of Marquette.
But outraged critics accused police officers of reacting.
"The police are taking a lot of heat," resident Richard Tyynismaa, 64, told the Detroit Free Press. "We would like them to explain the hows and whys of what happened. I find this totally offensive. There is absolutely no reason for putting that cow down. If she was acting erratic, it's probably only because she was just trying to protect her calves."
Brian Roell, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist, said he supported Bjorne's decision.
"We weighed our options and what we could do. This was our only choice," Roell said.
The moose and its calves were first spotted Monday morning in a residential area. Officers made plans to steer them to an unpopulated area and used an SUV to prod the moose along a snowmobile trail. The crowd followed.
"It was like it was some kind of parade," Bjorne said.
After several hours and at least two more attempts to move the herd, police shot the mother when it nearly ran over a woman in her backyard.
Bjorne said he didn't want to repeat an incident last year when another moose crossing a highway ran into a van carrying a family.
"We couldn't have another accident or destruction or people getting hurt," he said.
The whereabouts of the two calves was unknown. Roell said they might survive the winter because they had been weaned, but their chances were poorer without their mother.
The cow was butchered, and the meat was donated to needy families.

Wire Service
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