Hare today, gone tomorrow: Canseco's tortoise goes AWOL

October 09, 1991|By San Francisco Chronicle

DANVILLE, Calif. -- Sheriff's deputies in the exclusive community of Blackhawk sprang into action when Jose Canseco's pet tortoise, Rafael, escaped his pen and nearly trundled into traffic.

Responding to a passing motorist's cellular-phone alert, Deputy Megan Garry-Wintich of the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department puzzled for a moment and then made ready to sweep the green, hard-shelled creature to safety as it lumbered toward busy Blackhawk Drive.

"She was saying, 'What am I supposed to do with this thing?' " her boss, Lieutenant Gary Hal, recounted.

But the Oakland A's slugger quickly appeared to rescue his 30-pound reptile.

It happened late Monday afternoon as Canseco and his wife, Esther, were packing to move to their winter beach house in Miami.

The wayward Rafael and several other land tortoises that the Cansecos have kept as pets in their back yard for the past several months were supposed to be getting ready for the trip. Removed from his cement-block corral with splashing waterfall backdrop, Rafael apparently took advantage of an open gate and made a break for it.

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