WEST POINT, N.Y. – Talk about a botched kid-napping.
Cadets at West Point attempting to steal the U.S. Naval Academy’s mascot before the annual Army-Navy football game in two weeks grabbed the wrong goat.
U.S. Military Academy cadets traveled to a farm near Annapolis, Maryland, the home of Navy mascot Bill, The Associated Press reported. But instead of taking off with Bill No. 37, a young angora with curly white wool who serves as the current mascot, the cadets goat-napped a retired, one-horned arthritic animal that is 14 years old, according to The New York Times.
All 37 of Navy’s mascots have been named Bill, and Army cadets have stolen Bill at least 10 times since 1953, when a convertible and chloroform were used to swipe the goat, the newspaper reported.
Bill No. 34 was returned safely on Monday, Army officials told the Times. A veterinarian who checked the goat said he was in good health.
The superintendents of the two academies — Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams and Vice Adm. Sean Buck — issued a joint statement Monday night, saying that stealing animals was off-limits. That rule has been in effect since 1992 after Navy midshipmen cut phone lines and zip-tied six Army employees while stealing the Army Mules, the academy’s mascot, Sports Illustrated reported.
“The U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy are disappointed by the trust that was broken recently between our brothers and sisters in arms,” the statement read. “These actions do not reflect either academy’s core values of dignity and respect.”
Another semi-violent incident occurred in 2015 when a fight in a stadium parking lot injured Bill No. 35 and sent the goat to a veterinary clinic for a week, according to Sports Illustrated.
In 2018 an endangered gyrfalcon named Aurora, the Air Force Academy’s mascot, was shoved into a dog crate by Army cadets, the Times reported. The bird beat her wings bloody trying to escape, seriously injuring herself, according to the newspaper.
The Army-Navy game will be played Dec. 11 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.