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Naval Academy icon 'Bill the Goat' returns home

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Photo - Bill the Goat at a Navy football game in 2004. (Defense Department photo, via WikiCommons)
Bill the Goat at a Navy football game in 2004. (Defense Department photo, via WikiCommons)
Local,Virginia,Taylor Holland

A beloved Annapolis icon is resting comfortably at his home just days after being kidnapped and left tied to a pole in Crystal City over the weekend.

Passersby noticed the crime victim tied up on a median Saturday and informed authorities, who were quickly able to solve the mystery: Bill the Goat XXXIV, the official mascot of the U.S. Naval Academy, had been abducted.

When staffers from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington responded to calls about the abduction, they found -- and rescued -- the Angora goat, which had been stolen from his home on a local farm in Maryland, said Susan Sherman, the organization's chief operating officer.

Calls were then placed to law enforcement officials in Anne Arundel County, who promptly notified Bill's owners that their goat had been found and was in need of a ride back to his home.

"The goat was found unharmed and is now home safe in his pen with his brother, who is also named Bill," Naval Academy spokeswoman Colleen Roy said.

School officials are unsure who's responsible for Bill's kidnapping but say it "could be related" to next weekend's Army-Navy football game, especially because Bill was found on Army Navy Drive. Officials from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point didn't comment on the matter.

The yearly bout between the two rivals is never good news for Bill, or any of his colleagues, who have been abducted by West Point cadets the week before their game for more than 50 years.

Most recently, a group of cadets raided the Naval Academy's dairy farm in 2007 and kidnapped three goats. The evidence was more clear-cut, however, because the group filmed the goatnapping and posted it online, dubbing the covert mission "Operation Good Shepherd."

Goat abductions had tapered off in the 12 years prior to the video-inspired kidnapping, though, after top brass at both schools penned an agreement that says the "kidnapping of cadets, midshipmen or mascots will not be tolerated."

It is unclear what, if any, consequences will befall those guilty of the kidnapping, and Bill is expected to be ready for the Dec. 8 game.

"Bill the Goat has been a part of our 10-game winning streak against Army," Roy said, "so we are glad to have him back before the big game next week."

tholland@washingtonexaminer.com

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