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Pedro the miniature donkey causes quite a commotion along Street roadway

Brian Anders and Harford County Sheriff's Office Senior Deputy Melissa Woods stand with Pedro, the almost 2-year-old miniature donkey who caused quite a commotion along Route 165 in Street Monday afternoon.
Brian Anders and Harford County Sheriff's Office Senior Deputy Melissa Woods stand with Pedro, the almost 2-year-old miniature donkey who caused quite a commotion along Route 165 in Street Monday afternoon.(Courtesy of Laura Cooper)

Apples — that’s what it took to get Pedro the burro, or miniature donkey, to finally calm down and move away from the busy Federal Hill Road in Street Monday afternoon.

Early that afternoon, Maryland State Police were called to the 4300 block of Federal Hill Road for a report of a “donkey in the roadway and refusing to move (yes, you read that correctly),” according to Harford Fire Blog.

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Brian Anders was heading from work in Pylesville to home in Whiteford when he saw a girl trying to chase what he thought was a donkey with a dog leash on the side of the road.

“I was on my way home and I almost hit it, that’s why I stopped,” Anders said.

He was one of six to 10 people — a Maryland State Police trooper, a Harford County Sheriff’s Office deputy and cadet, two animal control officers, school bus drivers and several others — who stopped that afternoon to help corral Pedro. He had escaped when the fence at his home was knocked over by the wind, said Chris Sluss, whose mother owns the almost 2-year-old miniature donkey.

The bus drivers stopped and blocked traffic, their flashing lights on.

Laura Cooper had also stopped on her way to get her son from school when she saw Pedro and a girl walking along a woodpile on the side of the road.

Pedro crossed Federal Hill Road at one point, and she pulled off to try and help.

Anders and the trooper, Cpl. Joshua Kres, were trying to coerce Pedro away from the road and get leashes they had in their cars around his neck, Anders said.

“I have horses, so I’m used to doing that,” he said.

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While they were trying to get to Pedro, if he got spooked or got close to the road, Cooper said she would hit the alarm on her car and Pedro would turn around.

It was a busy time of day — school was ready to get out and buses were headed to the North Harford area schools.

“He was so spooked because of all the traffic, all the buses,” Anders said.

Pedro wasn’t kicking, but it was obvious he was scared.

“Every time he heard a noise, or when we got within two feet of him, he’d run away,” Anders said.

Eventually, a woman who drives a propane truck stopped and offered Pedro the apple slices she had for her lunch, Animal Control Officer Daniel Thayer said.

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“They worked a little,” Thayer said.

One person tried to offer him salad, but Pedro wasn’t having that, he said.

Apples in hand, a group of about seven coaxed Pedro down a hill and surrounded him by a fence, allowing Anders and the trooper to get their leashes around Pedro’s neck.

Even then, Pedro was being stubborn and didn’t want to walk back up the hill.

It took Anders’ brawn — he’s 6-foot-5 and 280 to 290 pounds — and embrace to get him up the hill.

“Once I had the leash around his neck, he just didn’t want to move,” Anders said. “So I put my arm around his neck, and we walked like that all the way up to the road.”

Pedro’s escapade still wasn’t over, however. The animal control officers could put him in the back of their van because it was too big.

While the trooper, Kres, was going door to door in the area trying to find Pedro’s home, the others were trying to find a way to get him home once it was found.

Eventually someone from Rock Ridge Farm with a horse trailer loaded Pedro inside and took him to his home a block away, Animal Control Officer Pam Arney said.

“It was one crazy day,” Sluss said on behalf of his mother. “We really want to thank everyone involved, who helped in any way.”

As animal control officers, Arney and Thayer respond to dozens of calls a week, many for animals in the road. Mostly they’re horses or other livestock in the road, not burros, Arney said.

This is a difficult time of year for animals, she said.

“There’s no grass, they get bored. If they find just a little way to try and get out, they’re gone,” Arney said.

It took a group of people to get Pedro back home.

“It was teamwork,” Thayer said. “The multiple agencies and civilians pulled off without being asked is what made it successful.”

Anders and Sluss said they’re both shocked by how the story took off on social media. The Fire Blog post generated more than 360 comments, many of them jokes about donkeys and other names for them.

They have been getting phone calls from friends who have seen it and just listen as they laugh, some for five minutes, Sluss said.

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