Gene Fleming was an inventor for animals, surely the most rewarding profession. In 1959, he learned that cows had a problem: They itched, but their habit of scratching themselves on any rough surface they found ripped their skin open. Gene invented a rip-free cow scratcher, which also sprayed them with bug repellent. It worked great, and he made hundreds of thousands of them. 

In 1989, he met Andy, a goose at his sister-in-law’s farm who’d been born without feet. Andy couldn’t walk, of course, but Gene adopted him and hunted for a solution. His first idea was to build the goose a custom skateboard. That turned out horribly, but his next plan—custom baby shoes—worked great, and Andy soon could walk fine. 

The goose became famous. Gene took him on TV repeatedly. Nike offered them a lifetime supply of free boots, since the goose wore his out quickly with all the walking he now did. Then in 1991, someone murdered Andy. 

They found his body in the park, which is a normal spot for geese but not for Andy—someone had broken onto Gene’s property and taken him, leaving behind (human) footprints. This was definitely not a natural death. Someone had cut off Andy’s head and cut off Andy’s wings. The boots, they left on him, leaving him easily identifiable. 

No one ever figured out who did it. Andy fans donated $10,000 for a reward for info, to no avail (later, some controversy arose over what to do with the money). Vigilantes agreed that if they ever identified the murderer, they’d cut off his head, and his wings, if you get their meaning. The sheriff of the Nebraska town, population 22,700, felt out of his depths. Denver offered assistance, suggesting this might be connected to ritual bird killings in the capital city, but nothing came of that. 

We may never know who killed Andy, so we’ll just leave you with two possible motives. Maybe this was an attack on disabled people everywhere, as Andy had become an icon for people who use prostheses. It also might have been a political assassination. Andy had been elected honorary mayor of a neighboring town. 

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For more goose projects, check out:

People Fight Geese By Sabotaging Eggs

7 Dark AF Ways Your Ancestors Had Fun

New York Has Been Waging War On Geese, To Save Planes

Top image via Wiki Commons

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