Renegade reindeer reined in by long arm of the law

Oslo, Nov 29 | Updated: Nov 30 2006, 08:06am hrs
It took the long arm of the law to restore order when a renegade reindeer sprinted along a highway in Norway's Arctic, nearly causing a series of traffic accidents.

The long arm belonged to Acting Sheriff Klemet Klemetsen, who reached through the window of his police cruiser and grabbed the fleeing animal by the skin of the neck while driving alongside it.

"That was a new experience for me," the 50-year-old officer told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

"It isn't normal procedure for a police officer to grab a reindeer through his car window. I've never heard of it before."

Motorists had called the police to warn of a panicked reindeer, which had been frightened by stray dogs, sprinting down the main road into Kautokeino, a key town for Norway's Sami reindeer herders, on Monday.

Klemetsen said by telephone that several of the drivers said they had nearly been in car crashes because of the reindeer, and that he knew he had to do something quickly before someone got hurt.

He spotted the reindeer, turned on his blue flashing lights, and set off in pursuit on the icy road.

"He was fast," said Klemetsen, who estimated that he was driving at about 30 kilometers (20 miles) an hour when he pulled up alongside the reindeer.

"Then I had to figure out what to do," he said. Klemetsen rolled down his window, closed in on the antlered culprit, and grabbed it.

Then he brought the small, roughly 30 kilogram reindeer to a halt by maintaining his grip, and slowing down the police car.

"I don't think any policeman has ever caught a reindeer like that. Maybe this is something for the Guinness record book" he asked.