- Associated Press - Sunday, December 21, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A dog that barfed up a wedding ring missing for five years and an angry giraffe that kicked a trespasser in its pen topped news of the odd in Wisconsin this year.

Tucker and Wally, the dog and giraffe, weren’t the only animals making news.

There was also the heartwarming story of A.J. the hawk, named after Green Bay Packer linebacker A.J. Hawk, who was rescued in July after it collided with a vehicle north of Chippewa Falls and survived a 140-mile journey stuck in the vehicle’s grille.

The driver initially thought the bird was dead and was unable to remove it. But after being rehabilitated at the local humane society, A.J. was released back into the wild.

A curious bear - name unknown - that wandered into a parking garage beneath the Wausau courthouse was also safely captured and released back into the woods. Marathon County sheriff’s deputies weren’t fazed by the bear, saying they’ve had to deal with a variety of animals that somehow get trapped in the garage, including deer and owls.

While the bear and hawk were lucky to find helpful humans, other animals encountered people who weren’t as well-intentioned.

A giraffe at the Madison children’s zoo wasn’t pleased when a California woman climbed over a fence to enter its pen in August. After first giving the woman a lick, the 12-foot-tall giraffe named Wally turned and kicked her in the face.

The injury was not life-threatening, and the woman - who claimed she climbed into the pen because she loves giraffes - was issued a $686 ticket for harassing zoo animals.

An animal story with a much happier ending happened in Stevens Point. The owner of Tucker the family dog had lost her diamond wedding ring five years earlier and assumed it was long gone.

But lo and behold, one day Tucker - who was known as the “food burglar” for eating anything in sight - threw up after eating an ice pop, stick and all. When the woman cleaned up the mess, she saw her ring.

The veterinarian said the Popsicle stick may have dislodged the ring that had been sitting in Tucker’s belly for half a decade. He may not have had a heart of gold, but for five years he had a belly of diamonds.

Strange behavior wasn’t limited to the animal kingdom this year in Wisconsin.

Beer lovers, and those who make it, are known to go to extremes. That was no different in 2014.

A group of brawny, bearded brewers from the Sheboygan area posed mostly nude for the 2015 Brew Men Calendar to raise money for charity.

The idea came, not surprisingly, after they had a few beers.

Those seeking a few beers, or at least one specifically, sat out in the cold for hours for a special release the day after Thanksgiving at Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee. The $15 Black Friday brew attracted 800 people by 8 a.m. when it went on sale, some of whom camped out overnight in temperatures well below freezing.

While those die-hards had beer on their Christmas list this year, two young brothers from Mayville figured the best way to let Santa know what they wanted was to pick up the phone and tell him. Only problem is, they called 911 hoping to contact the North Pole.

Instead, they reached police who came to their home with a piece of advice: If you want to talk to Santa, do it in person.


Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sbauerAP

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