William Eugene “Jeep” Fleming

He is noted as the owner of "Andy the Goose". Andy being a footless goose for whom special shoes were designed. The now walking and swimming goose and his owner became somewhat of a celebrity in the area appearing in many public events and even on television.

Andy the Goose was born in 1987 without webbed feet and lived on a farm in Harvard, Nebraska. When Andy was two years old, Gene Fleming from nearby Hastings became aware of the plight of the bird. Fleming was a member of a local charity for disabled children and inventor and he thought he would be able to help. Fleming took care of Andy and his mate, Polly, and moved them to his farm in Hastings.

Initial attempts at providing Andy with more mobility included a skateboard-like prosthesis which did not work. Fleming then fitted Andy with specially adapted baby-sized shoes and he successfully taught the bird to walk with them. Subsequently, Andy caught the attention of the media and a sportswear manufacturer, that offered a lifetime deal to supply shoes – the bird wore out a pair of shoes in about one month.

Andy became a role model, especially for disabled children. With his shoes, Andy was able to walk, swim and fly which was supposed to give hope to people with disabilities.

On October 19, 1991, Andy disappeared, and a day later he was found dead in a local park with his head and wings removed. The local community collected US$10,000 as a reward to apprehend the murderer; however, the killer could not be identified. - Source: Wikipedia

The following is the AP story written about the murder of this famous goose.


HASTINGS (October 22, 1991) - Andy, a footless goose that learned to walk with special boots, was found in a park with its head and wings pulled off.

The animal was still wearing the boots when it was discovered dead Saturday.

″Why would anyone do that to that poor little goose?″ asked owner Nadine Fleming. ″I feel just terrible. He was my pet and he never hurt anybody, but somebody broke into his house, kidnapped him and killed him.″

Andy was born with stumps for feet and could not walk or swim like other geese. In 1988 the animal learned to walk with customized baby shoes made by Mrs. Fleming’s husband, Gene, an inventor.

Andy had made headlines around the world and appeared on ″The Tonight Show,″ garnering a gaggle of fans. The Flemings opened their home to visitors, and the goose became a tourist attraction in this rural community of 23,000.

″I know there will be some children who will be very upset. A lot of children loved Andy,″ Mrs. Fleming said.

″From the tourism aspect, it’s a real loss,″ said Joni Gustafson, director of the Hastings-Adams County Visitors Bureau. ″People are always looking to experience the human side of life when they travel.″

Authorities said they had no suspect and no motive in the killing.

″It’s very, just a very senseless destruction of an animal that I think you call nationally recognized or certainly has received national attention,″ said Sheriff Gregg Magee.


Some photos of Andy and Gene Fleming

Sign up for TheIndependent.com Email Alerts

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Recommended for you

Load comments