Friday, October 09, 2015

Are we nearly there yet?

Dog plays fetch

Charlie the dog likes to play fetch with little Ethan. Literally.

YouTube link.

Police seek window-removing 'snake burglar'

A slithering suspect hunted by investigators in Douglas County, Georgia, may be responsible for a half dozen burglaries at businesses. They said they know it's the same suspect because he is breaking into the businesses in a unique way.

At one convenience store surveillance cameras show the suspect removing a full glass window from a door to get inside. Douglas County Sheriff Investigator Dale Kelley said the suspect is removing the trim from around the glass to remove the windows.

"I believe he's done some type of work with windows to be able to do it so neatly," Kelley said. Once inside, the suspect slithers along the floor like a snake to get to the cash register booth. Kelley said he's trying to avoid being detected by motion sensors which would set off an alarm.

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"He's covering his face up to the bridge of his nose, only exposing his eyes and he's always wearing gloves," he said. Kelley said he's equipped with tools to open a panel and crawl into the secure cash register booth. Investigators have tied the suspect to six burglaries in ten days. Four happened in Douglas County, one each in Douglasville and Marietta. Inv. Kelley said he always gets in the same way, by removing a full window.

Store robbed by man armed with bow and arrow

A man robbed a 7-Eleven in Virginia Beach, Virginia, early on Friday morning.

The robber used a bow and arrow to hold up the convenience store, just after midnight.

He then left the area with an undisclosed amount of cash. No injuries were reported.

Police have not yet provided a description of the suspect.

Divided residents of city overrun with rabbits search for solution

A bunny brouhaha has been brewing for some time in Langley in Island County, Washington. Proliferating rabbits have overrun the city. Residents are ready for action. The island community has lost count of the cottontails, but they know damage is on the rise with rabbit holes hurting foundations at the fairgrounds and causing tripping hazards all over.

“It’s got to stop. It’s not cute anymore,” Langley resident Fran Johnson says. She’s tired of them chewing through her garden. Johnson recalled, with a hint of envy, how her father’s generation would have handled the situation: “You put them in a gunnysack and throw them off the dock. That’s not going to go over too good with too many people,” she said.

Langley residents are split on how to deal with the reproducing rabbits, who are digging up yards and even a middle-school football field. Some residents are feeding and sheltering the rabbits. Others support eradicating them, perhaps calling on raptors to kill the furry intruders. One resident, so frustrated by the bunnies, shot at them with an air-powered gun, which led to a criminal charge.

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At a Langley community meeting on Tuesday, residents talked over their options. It is said they found common ground and could be nearing a rabbit resolution. The city is working to get an accurate count on their rabbit problem as they continue to search for a solution that will be a good fit for the whole community.

Car given parking ticket despite having wheels stolen

Adding insult to larceny, a car in Chicago that had all four of its wheels stolen overnight was given a parking ticket in the morning because it didn't get out of the way of a street cleaner. The 2011 GMC Denali was put up on cinder blocks after its wheels were stolen sometime between midnight and 7am on Thursday, according to the car owner's wife.

The owner parked the car at round 10:40pm on Wednesday evening near his home, according to his wife and police. It was the family's nanny who first noticed that the car wheels had been stolen. She told the car's owner, who then called the police to file a report. The policeman who helped them was "great," telling them all they had to do was put a note on the car with the police report number to avoid getting a ticket, the owner's wife said.

So the owner put the note up, making sure it was displayed prominently on the windshield. But that didn't stop a ticket writer from slapping a parking ticket directly over the note later on Thursday morning. "It's usually something you see in movies. It's crazy. I can't believe it happened," said the owner's wife, who declined to be named for fear of repercussions. "I'm disenchanted with city workers for not taking notice. We pay a lot of tax dollars so you think they'd take the time to read the note."

The ordeal was a huge inconvenience, the owner's wife said. Not only did her family have to deal with getting the car towed and repaired, but they also had to make sure the ticket is reversed, she said. Molly Poppe, spokeswoman for the city's department of transportation, said the ticket writer "had no way to confirm how long the car had been parked on the street or the police report number." "However, due to the circumstances of this issue and with knowledge that the wheels were stolen overnight, the city is voiding this ticket," she added.

Love letter stopped by fastidious beagle

A love letter filled with fresh rose petals will never make it to its destination in New Zealand thanks to a fastidious beagle.

Cleo the Ministry for Primary Industries detector dog sniffed out the ill-fated romantic gesture during one of her shifts at the International Mail Centre in Auckland last month.

MPI said the fresh rose petals posed a risk of disease and insects being brought into the country and was intercepted thanks to the detector dog's work. This was one of 26 seizures the young beagle made during September.

She also sniffed out a fresh salad and guacamole in a passenger's bag at Auckland International Airport. "Cleo is only a young dog, but she's really clocking up the finds," MPI said. While the letter did not get past Cleo, the recipient was sent a photo of the romantic gesture instead.

Court clears allegations against dog in domestic abuse case

An Indian court has dismissed allegations against a former Delhi minister's pet dog, Don the labrador. Somnath Bharti's wife had accused him of domestic violence and said Don would bite her at his master's behest. The dog became the subject of media speculation after he went "missing" with Mr Bharti, a former law minister, after the charges.

The court dismissed the accusations against Don after he refused to obey Mr Bharti's commands to attack. A Delhi court judge cited a police report where it was observed that the dog did not respond to the commands "Don come, Don bark, Don bite, Don sit down". Don's refusal to obey also won his master bail on Wednesday.

Described as overweight at 35kg (77lb), and lazy, the 12-year-old labrador became the subject of a police hunt, and intense media attention, when he "disappeared" along with his master, soon after they began investigating the case. It was eventually discovered that the former minister had left Don in his office in south Delhi before fleeing to an undisclosed location. Mr Bharti surrendered two weeks later, after India's Supreme Court refused to say it would grant him bail. Office workers reportedly told police that Don "mostly sleeps and eats, and barks when the AC is turned off".

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Mr Bharti's neighbours had all testified that Don was harmless. A neighbourhood restaurateur said Don walks around the apartment block unrestrained. "He walks slowly. He comes down to go to the park where he does his business and goes back. He is a harmless dog that does not cause any trouble." Officers had to seek medical attention for the dog after they discovered he had heart disease and his pills were in a locked cabinet in Mr Bharti's office. Meanwhile Mr Bharti's wife Lipika, who has accused him of domestic abuse and attempting to kill her, has said that the former minister also mistreated Don.

Embarrassment for fire-warning Forestry Minister after accidentally starting forest fire

German Forestry Minister Helmut Brunner accidentally started a forest fire over the weekend, after dumping ashes in a thicket near his house.

The Bavarian forestry ministry confirmed on Wednesday that Brunner tipped what he thought were extinguished ashes into a small forest near his house. But a few hours later he found flames rising from the same spot and had to call the fire services.

"I totally underestimated it, it's really embarrassing," the minister said. "You can't be careful enough." Half a dozen firefighters turned up to quell the blaze. The number was deemed necessary due to the heightened fire risk caused by a dry summer.

Brunner himself has repeatedly warned the public about the danger of forest fires during recent weeks. The firefighters were able to dampen the flames before they caused any damage to property.

Harpist 'banned' from bank in racist Welsh language sign row

A renowned harpist claims he has been banned from a bank in Aberystwyth after criticising the lack of priority given to the Welsh language on a sign. Robin Huw Bowen is angry about a sign in the HSBC branch which has the English word Welcome in big letters but the Welsh ‘Croeso’ in small letters. He feels the sign is racist as it treats the Welsh language in the same way as foreign languages, including French and Spanish, which are also on the sign in small letters.

He has called for HSBC customers to complain to the bank to ensure the sign gives priority to the Welsh language. Mr Bowen, of Capel Seion, said: “The ‘battle for the language’ has been won, we are told. Why then do businesses and bodies still refuse to respect our language here in Wales in the 21st century? This sign is actually in a branch of the ‘world’s local bank’ here on our doorstep in Aberystwyth, treating our national language as foreign.

“I believe this is basically racist, the bank consider Wales to be no more than a part of England. The bank has now banned me as I have made a rather noisy, public fuss every time I have complained, but many, many of my friends, both Welsh and English-speaking agree with my stance that the sign is racist and an affront to all of us in Wales.” Mr Bowen, who is recognised internationally as a leading exponent of the Welsh Triple Harp, uses HSBC to pay enrolment fees for the Society of the Traditional Instruments of Wales.

A HSBC spokesperson said: "We work hard to provide Welsh language services and have a close relationship with the Welsh Language Commissioner to help inform how we best communicate with our customers. We have shared Mr Bowen's concern about our welcome sign with our own Welsh language team as we take feedback seriously and will make sure it is fully considered. We are sorry Mr Bowen found the sign upsetting but due to his behaviour we had to ask him to leave our branch as it became too disruptive for our customers. We did not take this decision lightly and it is always the last resort."

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Do you want to know a secret?

Puppy fraternises with ferrets and a plastic pipe

YouTube link.

Man trying on women's underwear accused of exposing himself to store employee

A 52-year-old man from Arlington, Virginia, has been charged with indecent exposure after an incident at a shopping mall on Monday.

Allen Jones, reportedly exposed himself to a clerk at the JC Penny's at Springfield Mall. The suspect was shopping in the women's underwear section of the store and requested assistance from the clerk as he tried on the items.

The incident reportedly took place in the changing room. The clerk immediately contacted police. After an investigation, detectives linked the suspect to a previous incident on September 18.

In thatincident the suspect reportedly exposed himself to a clerk at a women's lingerie store, Soma, also in Springfield Mall. The suspect was charged in connection with that event as well. Jones was transported to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

Police seek man who fell into store through ceiling then climbed back out empty-handed

Police in Springfield, Massachusetts, hope the public can help identify a man who literally dropped into the Main Stop Food Mart premises.

The possible would-be burglary happened late on Sunday night and the store’s surveillance camera caught the man’s precipitous entry, through the ceiling and onto the tile floor.

The unidentified, after-hours customer apparently found a way in through the roof, according to the Springfield police report. After falling through the ceiling and landing inside the store, the man can be seen in the video immediately trying to climb back up to the hole he fell through.

LiveLeak link.

Aside from the clean-up and necessary repairs to the building, the store owner found nothing missing. Police said the man looks to be in his late 30s. He was wearing a black baseball hat, dark blue short-sleeve shirt, blue jeans and light brown leather work boots.

Man arrested after calling police 'to complain girlfriend would not have sex with him'

A South Carolina man called 911 early on Tuesday morning to complain that his girlfriend would not have sex with him, according to an arrest report.

When an officer responded to his Spartanburg residence, Patrick Doggett, 53, “stated he called 911 because his girlfriend, Ms. Faye Woodruff, would not give him any ass.”

Woodruff told police that Doggett had been drinking all day and “didn’t know where he was at.” She added that Doggett got into bed and wanted to have sex, but “she had her grandchild with her.” So, Woodruff noted, Doggett "got up and then dialed 911."

Doggett, who was outside the residence drinking an alcoholic beverage when police arrived, was arrested for public intoxication and booked into the county jail. Doggett has not been cited for misusing the 911 system, according to jail records.

Rare moustached bird photographed for first time then killed by researchers to study it further

The first ever photographs of the elusive male moustached kingfisher were recently released by the American Museum of Natural History. They show a vibrant blue adult bird in apparent good health. However, researchers then elected to kill the endangered bird in order to further study it. Paul Sweet, collection manager for the museum’s Department of Ornithology, told Audubon that he and his colleagues assessed the state of the bird’s population and habitat, and concluded it was substantial and healthy enough to withstand the loss.

The suspenseful moments before the bird’s discovery are recorded in a field journal written by Chris Filardi, who is director of Pacific Programs at the museum’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation. He and his colleagues were in the remote moss jungle highlands of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands when they heard a distinctive call: “ko-ko-kokokokokokokokoko-kiew!” They paused and scanned the forest. After time passed, “There in plain sight pumping its tail, crest alert, in full colors, was the moustached kingfisher,” Filardi wrote. “And then, like a ghost, it was gone.” For days the researchers looked for the bird. They set fine nets into the forest canopy, hoping to capture the individual.

After a blustery morning of cold winds and rain showers, they managed to capture the male moustached kingfisher. “When I came upon the netted bird in the cool shadowy light of the forest I gasped aloud, ‘Oh my god, the kingfisher,’” Filardi recounted. “One of the most poorly known birds in the world was there, in front of me, like a creature of myth come to life.” Photographs were taken of the bird. Frank Lambert, another member of the research team, also managed to record the bird’s distinctive call. The recording has not yet been released. The moustached kingfisher is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It is estimated that there are only 250–1000 mature individuals left, but the bird’s elusiveness puts even those figures into question.

Its entry on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species reads: “This spectacular species is judged to be endangered on the basis of a very small estimated population, which is suspected to be declining, at least in part of its range. However, further research may reveal it to be more common.” The decision to kill the bird has led to heavy criticism. Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, said: “Killing ‘in the name of conservation’ or ‘in the name of education’ or ‘in the name of whatever’ simply needs to stop. It is wrong and sets a horrific precedent for future research and for children. Imagine what a youngster would think if he or she heard something like, ‘I met a rare and gorgeous bird today…and I killed him.’ Even if this handsome male were a member of a common species, there was no reason to kill him. It sickens me that this practice continues and I hope more people will work hard to put an end to it right now, before more fascinating animals are killed.”

Apparently orphaned wild boar piglet adopted by two separate herds of cows

A little wild boar piglet in Lower Saxony, Germany, turned up at a Göttingen farm around two weeks ago, cattle farmer Jochen Kraft said. It was Kraft's son who first spotted the newest addition to their herd, he said.

The apparently orphaned piglet, who the pair have since named Johann, was found cosied up amongst a herd of cows. In a "touching" display, the herd treated Johann like one of their own calves, licking the piglet clean and letting him snuggle up to them.

Johann's story was soon picked up by local media, and curious visitors began turning up at the meadow to see the piglet and his new foster family. But the attention was apparently all too much for Johann. The piglet upped sticks again, wandering to a different meadow a few hundred metres away.

Here, he found a new cattle herd to join – and currently lives among five pregnant cows. Johann's newest family have already accepted him and treat him well, said Kraft. The piglet doesn't struggle to find food either: while his pregnant foster-mothers munch on grass, the boar happily forages for may bug larvae and acorns.

Rabbit with tusk-like teeth abandoned by side of road

A rabbit whose teeth were so overgrown that it was unable to eat, has been found abandoned in Cambridgeshire. The RSPCA said the teeth on the female domestic rabbit, spotted by a member of the public, were "some of the worst" it had seen.

Inspector Justin Stubbs said: "Had she not been found when she was, she would have likely starved to death." The rabbit, which has been renamed Holly after the vet who attended to her, has now had the teeth removed. The RSPCA said she should make a "good recovery" and will hopefully be rehomed.

Her bottom teeth were about 4cm (1.5in) long and protruded from her mouth, with the top teeth a similar length. Mr Stubbs said: "Who knows how long she had been living stray like this but it could be that someone let her go or dumped her as a result of not wanting to get treatment for her."

The rabbit was found by the side of the road in Orton Brimbles, Peterborough, last Wednesday. Dr Jane Tyson, rabbit behaviour and welfare expert at the RSPCA, said: "A lot of people don't realise that a rabbit's teeth grow continuously. We recommend rabbit teeth are checked at least once a week to ensure they stay healthy."

Concern over 7-inch hole in road

A hole measuring seven inches wide has appeared in Hillary Way, Wheatley, Oxfordshire.

Resident Helen Wright, 35, said the hole appeared at the entrance to the road a couple of weeks ago.

She said: “It started out the size of a 50p piece but it’s now a big problem since we have many children and elderly people living around here.

“Hopefully the issue will be fixed soon.” Oxfordshire County Council said they intended to get the hole filled as soon as possible.

Cock Lane offensive pothole graffiti covered up by council

Offensive graffiti highlighting potholes in Cock Lane, Fetcham, Surrey, was covered up by Mole Valley District Council on Tuesday.

Penises appeared on Cock Lane overnight on September 28, prompting a resident to suggest it was "some sort of protest" over the uneven state of the road.

Councillor Paul Newman, executive member for environment, said the district council has covered the markings with black paint, ensuring they are "no longer visible".

He added: “We attend offensive graffiti reports within 24 hours and remove them wherever possible." It is criminal damage, Cllr Newman added, and action could be taken against those defacing property. While the penises are now gone, the potholes remain, however.