Baa-aaaaaad News

Firefighters! You gotta love 'em. They save lives, they put out fires, they make a nice pot of chili. And one of them tried to bone a sheep, too.

Now, The Bird tried desperately to fly above this story, which the Arizona Republic played straight (natch) in two tiny, buried items, but, God damn it, New Times readers have a right to know the full story of how Leroy Donald Johnson had a little lamb!

Especially after Sheriff Joe Arpaio found the matter so pressing that he held a press conference about it. You guessed it, he came out firmly against lamb-fucking in our great state. Yes, our very own Sheriff Goober even declared that sex with animals is a kind of gateway drug for murderers and pornographers.

The Bird shits you not.

Fact is, for a taloned reporter like yours truly, it doesn't get any better than this! A deputy chief for the Mesa Fire Department gets caught with his pants down behind a lamb, and then our (cough!) esteemed Maricopa County sheriff capitalizes on the moment by proclaiming that he'll demand that the Arizona Legislature pass a law prohibiting such behavior.

If the Legislature dares to ignore this woolly problem, Joe screeched, "I'm going to the people!"

Joe's lunacy aside for a moment, The Bird knows what you're thinking: Don't men named Leroy frequently want to lay into some juicy mutton? In the Biblical sense?

Or maybe you're musing, "I thought this sort of thing only happened on Brokeback Mountain." (Wait a minute, those guys did the sheep on the barbie and each other in the tent.)

The Bird heard that, just before he was discovered with Lamb Chop, Leroy Johnson hollered, "God, I wish I knew how to quit ewe."

Kidding on that one! (Puppeteer Shari Lewis must be turning over in her grave.)

What makes this chorus of "Baa, Baa Fire Chief" so fun to sing is the sheriff's office's report on the incident, an eight-pager so full of yuks that you'd swear it's a patented New Times hoax. It's not; check out this link:

The report includes details of Leroy Johnson's arrest, which came after the teenage daughter of his East Valley neighbor Alan Goats (seriously, that's the dude's name) saw Johnson pull the lamb into Goats' barn. She called her dad, and Goats discovered Johnson with his pants around his ankles and the small gray ewe between his legs. The crime report divulges that "Alan did not see Leroy's gentiles [sic]" before calling the cops.

The Bird can see the producers of Babe all over this one.

When Goats barged in on Leroy and his date, Johnson laughed and exclaimed, "You caught me, Alan, I tried to fuck your sheep!"

The Bird's not joking around anymore; it's in the damn report!

A rumor that he also said "Nice rack on that lamb" isn't in the damn report.

Arpaio's deputies may not be able to spell, but they sure know how to arrest a sheep fucker. Leroy hadn't gone on the lamb (at least not again) by the time they arrived in the neighborhood, and they arrested him peacefully at his home. He was taken to the Fourth Avenue Jail in Phoenix and charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing. He was described by one of the arresting officers as having bloodshot eyes and smelling of booze.

"I don't know if this is the time or place for it," he was quoted as telling one of the deputies. "But I probably need some help."

Leroy, you think?

On paid leave from the fire department, Johnson probably will be fined a couple hundred dollars and made to register as a sex offender -- with the state Game and Fish Department! There The Bird goes again.

But what about the victim? What's to become of her? (Or was it him? It's as if the poor lamb barely mattered to the deputies, which's surprising given Sheriff Arpaio's deep concern.)

Thing is, this pretend pigeon isn't against people having consensual sex with adult dogs, cows, horses or even sheep; after all, animals have the right to a good time, too. And most four-legged critters are able to express disapproval -- by biting, kicking, mooing or neighing.

But lambs are not adults. They're children! And The Bird draws the line at grown men engaging in sexual shenanigans with the underaged of any species (see "Jesus Is Pissed," March 9, about Father Dale Fushek).

Arizona's among 14 states that don't have laws against bestiality, which's what got Sheriff Joe baa, baa, baa-ing for the aforementioned state statute. If not for the lamb owner's name, you might say that's what got Joe's goat.

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela