From the Miami Herald:
ORLANDO, Fla. — Authorities blew up a stuffed pony – determined to be a “suspicious device” – after it was found outside a central Florida school.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office reports that the toy was found near the Waterbridge Elementary School Tuesday morning.
No one was allowed in or out of the building while bomb disposal experts destroyed the stuffed animal. It was ultimately deemed “non-threatening.”
I did a little digging and it turns out that this poor innocent horse was a Furreal Pony – an animatronic children’s toy produced by My Little Pony’s creators, Hasbro, which I first heard about shortly after it had been named Girls’ Toy of the Year in 2007. The press release was fodder for at least three drafts of my book proposal:
“WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU ANSWER YOUR LITTLE GIRL’S DREAM FOR A PONY?
Answer: MOMMY, DADDY…YOU’RE MY HEROES!”
“The BUTTERSCOTCH pony will amaze kids and adults alike with her level of ‘awareness’ and realism. She can move her head up and down, and back and forth, and her eyes open and close. Sensors enable BUTTERSCOTCH to respond and interact with the child. When her mane is brushed, a child will hear contented whinnies. When her ears are tickled, she will turn her head and try to find you. When she gets hungry, she’ll happily ‘eat’ her very own carrot. And, when she’s had enough, she’ll shake her head to let you know she’s full. Petting her muzzle will cause her to sniff!”
Hasbro go on to say that BUTTERSCOTCH “will solidify mom and dad’s status as hero when they are finally able to say yes to their little girls’ pleadings for the quintessential barnyard playmate… Most little girls long for a pony at some point during their childhood. Now, these typically unrealized dreams can become a reality.”
Dream? OR NIGHTMARE??????? Judge for yourself with this sinister footage shot at a toy fair.
The Orlando Sentinel describes the aftermath:
This afternoon, blackened pavement and bits of plastic littering the cul-de-sac on Whisper Glen Court were all that was left of the pony.
Parent Shanie Lucas, who uses the area to pick-up and drop-off her 9-year-old daughter, Valerie, thought the whole incident was funny.
Lucas saw the pony this morning around 8:30 when she dropped Valerie off at school and thought someone put it there to deter people from double-parking inside the small circle.
“When I saw it this morning, I thought it was funny,” Lucas said. “The kids were laughing, the adults were smiling.”
But when Lucas received an automated call from her daughter’s school about the lockdown, she got nervous. She scoured the Internet looking for information and realized it was the same pony she saw earlier in the morning.
“I thought it was a prank,” Lucas said referring to the pony, adding that she never suspected it could have been dangerous.
Parent Heather Mazza used her iPhone to snap pictures of the blacked pavement where the pony once sat.
“I’m sending them to my family back home,” Mazza said.
Her parents, who live in Indiana, had in the past picked up her daughter, second-grader Malak Mazza, in the cul-de-sac and had also heard about the suspicious pony.
“I was scared at first, but then when I saw the news, I was like, ‘A pony? What?'” Mazza said. “You’ve got to take everything seriously.”