Jailhouse bruin

THE bear's in jail and the rabbit's in court. As a defendant. Really. Camille Saint-Sa"ens, composer of the satirical fantasy ``The Carnival of the Animals,'' would have felt right at home.

The black bear was jailed in Des Moines, without being formally charged, because it had repeatedly escaped from his cage. Officials tried to find an alternative bedroom for it while it spent a week prowling the exercise yard; the ACLU notwithstanding, it never got its day in court.

But the rabbit did. Named not Harvey but Heather, she -- er, ``it'' -- was cited by law enforcement officials as the co-defendant in a zoning case. It is officially part owner of a junkyard accused of zoning violations.

Still, it is hard to imagine a 15-inch defendant hopping around in the dock, twitching its nose and twisting its ears, while His Honor asks whether it pleads guilty or not guilty. So John Law plans to dismiss the charges.

There are snow bunnies and dust bunnies. But apparently no jailhouse bunnies.

Maybe the cells are too full of bears.

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