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Off Main Street /

Very ‘bunny’

Police departments have long employed dogs in their fight against crime, so why not a fluffy little bunny named “Dusty” that could burrow into hard-to-reach places where illegal drugs might be stashed.

The small, whitish-gray crimestopper was unveiled Friday on the Amherst Police Department’s Facebook page, featured as the department’s newest “narcotics detection” fighter in a picture with K-9 Officer Thomas Grillo. Fitted with a tiny, protective Amherst Police Department-issued vest, the leashed rabbit posed with an Amherst police officer outside the department’s John James Audubon Parkway headquarters.

“Due to the fact that drug interdiction has become more difficult with criminals discovering ever new and smaller areas to conceal drugs, ‘Dusty’ and his handler will be able to search vehicles and other small areas with greater accuracy,” the department stated.

The announcement racked up more than 2,500 Facebook shares by midday Friday, leaving some commenters to wonder openly if the Police Department was actually serious.

They were not, of course. It was an April Fools’ Day joke, something the Amherst department has indulged in before. Last year, it unveiled a bright, neon green squad car that was to be introduced this year as a throwback to its bright yellow cruisers from the 1970s and early 1980s.

The Grunnel

Jokes about Erie County’s aging infrastructure never get old, do they?

It’s a good thing for Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, whose office on Friday posted an announcement about a proposal to build a tunnel under the Niagara River connecting Grand Island to mainland Erie County to help lessen the impact on existing roads and bridges. It would be called “the Grunnel.” Of course, it was all done in the spirit of April Fools’ Day. The handiwork of Poloncarz’ press secretary, Peter Anderson, managed to fool a few in the local media.

“Well, we had outrage from media asking if it was true,” Anderson confided.

County legislators were more savvy, however. A couple even added their two cents to the Grunnel concept.

“How about selling the naming rights?” suggested Legislator Edward Rath III on Twitter. “On the Grunnel?” Poloncarz responded. “We already entered into an exclusive agreement with Fucillo auto group.”

“Yeah,” added Legislature Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo. “It’s gonna be YUGE.”

Questionable tour

Buffalo natives couldn’t possibly be fooled about their own city, could they?

Maybe they can. At least, that was part of the purpose of a “Questionable Tour of Buffalo” Friday evening that was hosted by Explore Buffalo.

A $25 pass allowed the curious to participate in a happy hour walk through downtown as Explore Buffalo docents gave a tour that was only half true when it came to pointing out historic sites.

Participants were charged with guessing which stories about the site were true but unbelievable, and which were just tall tales as they kept track on a scorecard during the tour.

Unlike many jokes, where participants end up with egg on their faces, this April Fools’ themed event ended with a prize for the person showing the most talent for sniffing out lies.

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil, with contributions by T.J. Pignataro, Sandra Tan and Michelle Kearns. email: