Man cited in downtown Giraffe gaffe

A giraffe spent Friday morning at the Ashland Police Department, after an officer rescued it from the clutches of a drunken man who was trying to take it home.

The 4-foot stuffed giraffe, located outside the downtown children's store Bug A Boo, was a tempting target for Ashland resident Sean Patrick McDowell, 24, who is accused of having twice tried to steal the animal early Friday, police said.

"He was apparently pretty enamored with it and decided he was taking it home," said Sgt. Bob Smith with the Ashland Police Department.

McDowell was cited for theft after his second encounter with the giraffe, according to police.

At about 1 a.m., Officer Theron Hull observed McDowell pick up the giraffe and simulate making sexual advances on it, Smith said.

"Then he turns and sees Officer Hull and so he puts the giraffe down and walks away," he said.

Later, at about 2:30 a.m., just after the downtown bars had closed for the night, McDowell returned to the Bug A Boo storefront and again picked up the giraffe, Smith said. McDowell was walking with the giraffe toward a parking lot at Water and B streets when Hull apprehended him.

"It took a little more alcohol, but about an hour-and-a-half later, he decided to try it again," Smith said.

"Maybe he had struck out with all the women at the bar and this giraffe was looking pretty good, so he said, 'I'm going to take it back to my own place,'" he joked.

Police returned the giraffe to Bug A Boo Friday morning.

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or

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