It was between 10 and 11 p.m. on May 7 that 800 homes in Chapelton, Strathaven and Glassford (in Scotland) lost power.
It was also between 10 and 11 p.m. that same night that a Limousin bull named Ron decided to scratch himself on a large pole.
It was nothing new for the 4-year-old bull, who’d used the pole to reach the itch on his backside many times — especially as he was in the process of losing his winter coat.
But this time, more than just the wires shook: The transformer box got knocked off.
Power was restored by 4:00 a.m., and in the daylight, Ron’s owners at East Shawtonhill Farm in Chapelton realized what must have happened.
“We got up around 06:00 and we saw a big generator sitting at the bottom of our road, all linked up to the poles,” owner Hazel Laughton told BBC Scotland. “We thought that was a bit strange.
“We went up to feed our cows and it was my husband that noticed the transformer box had been knocked off the pole. We put two and two together and realized our bull had been scratching against the telegraph pole and he had knocked the box off the pole. All the wires were down in the field as well.”
It was a bit of a miracle that the bull hadn’t been electrocuted himself in the fiasco.
“We were standing looking at it and the bull just sheepishly walked up to the fence,” Laughton explained. “He just looked a bit stunned. I don’t think he really knew what had happened during the night.”
After connecting the dots and realizing their opportunist bull was the reason hundreds of people had been without power for hours, Laughton posted on a local Facebook group to explain.
“Our bull Ron would like to apologise to everyone in Chapelton and Strathaven for causing last nights power cut to over 700 homes!!” she wrote on Chapelton, Strathaven Group’s page. “He had a itchy bum so scratched it on the electricity pole and knocked the transformer box off!
“He’s just happy to be alive this morning after somehow escaping 11,000 volts and a large bump on the head! Think we will rename him ‘Sparky’!”
While it was unusual for the transformer box to get knocked off, this wasn’t the first time a large livestock animal had used a telephone or electric pole as a scratching post.
“They said they have seen bulls scratch poles and maybe crack them but they have never had a bull knock the box off the pole like he has,” Laughton said of the workers who came to fix the damage.
On the whole, though, people have seemed to have a pretty good-natured response to the accident.
“This has given everyone a good laugh — people have been walking up the road looking for him,” Laughton said.
While Ron is doing well and no one was injured, Laughton confirmed that the bull will be losing his scratching pole, as they will be fencing it off.
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