The capitol cattle kidnappers who purloined a state senator's bull sculpture returned the beast unscathed. The fiberglass bovine had been displayed outside the office of Sen. Deb Fischer of Valentine until the rustlers struck on April 26.
The bull about the size of a large dog was found unharmed Wednesday morning, lying on its side in a grass circle in one of the capitol's interior courtyards.
"My little guy!" Fischer exclaimed when she saw the sculpture.
The bull was one of several from schools in Fischer's district, which covers a wide swath of cattle country, as part of the "Bitty Bulls" public art project.
Security cameras caught the caper on tape, but the picture was too grainy to allow identification of the rustlers.
"I think it was definitely an inside job," Fischer said.
She suspects one of her fellow senators was involved, but she would not name names.
One ransom note, signed by the "Suburban Rustlers," demanded that she vote for or against certain bills.
"I had to vote for six bills or against two bills … or give a large box of Jujyfruits" candy, Fischer said.
One note threatened to turn her Bitty Bull into "itty, bitty burgers."
She refused to comply.
"I'm from the 43rd District," she said. "We don't negotiate with cowards."
Fischer said the bull, named "Big Bright," was painted to honor the works of artist Georgia O'Keeffe.
"Big Bright" was back on display Wednesday outside Fischer's office.
"We've got it tethered to my aide's desk with fishing line," Fischer said.