Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Puppies attempt to befriend cat

The cat doesn't appear to be entirely happy about this.

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More than 300 chinchillas removed from home

Officials in Waukesha, Wisconsin, removed more than 300 chinchillas from a home that’s being described by authorities as “unlivable.” Police were called out to the home on Sunday for a welfare check. Law enforcement and Humane Animal Welfare Society (HAWS) crews worked to remove the chinchillas.

At least two dozen of the animals are reported to have been dead. Crews described a high level of ammonia in the home, likely due to the number of animals that were being kept there. “Initially when we got in there, there were elevated ammonia levels from all the urine inside the house from animals,” Mark Sweet with the Waukesha Fire Department said.

Two adults and one child were at the home when crews arrived. Two other children also live at the home. “They were raising chinchillas in there. Our fire marshal deemed it not livable in there. The parents living there found other places to live. There was an adolescent child who has been placed with other family members for now,” Sweet said.

Officials say all family members who were living in the home appear to be in good health. Chinchilla fur is considered extremely valuable. The animal is now considered to be “critically endangered.” Possible charges will likely be reviewed by the District Attorney’s Office in the coming week.

With news video.

Quadruple amputee dog walks again thanks to prosthetic legs

A dog has been learning to walk with the four prosthetic legs fitted after he was maimed by frostbite. Brutus the Rottweiler became disabled when his breeder amputated the damaged paws himself. He is only the second dog ever known to have four prosthetic limbs and the way the high-stepping hound walks sometimes resembles a bucking bronco.

The two-year-old starting using the artificial legs several months ago and is now set to get an improved set of prosthetics. Laura Aquilina, who cares for him in Loveland, Colorado, said: "He just has these little peg legs to get around on and he does a pretty good job inside the home." Speaking about the prosthetics, she said: "He's able walk in them. It's not always pretty.

"We want to be able to give him a higher functioning, where he can run and play with other dogs, go on hikes." Exercises and play help him learn how to balance and his next step will involve physical therapy at Colorado State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado. Brutus' contraptions were made by Orthopets which produces prosthetics for about 250 animals worldwide a year.

YouTube link.

Founder Martin Kaufmann: "Brutus is an amazing case of a beautiful dog who was dealt a short hand. He can get out and do normal doggy things. And it just makes you feel so good. If he ended up in a shelter they'd say he was unadoptable because he's missing his feet. I think it's good for people to know we can work with animals this."

Mystery over sparrows being killed by someone adorning them with trinkets around their necks

Sparrows are being killed in Wellington, New Zealand, by someone putting trinkets around their necks, the SPCA says. Five dead sparrows with wire rings round their necks have been found.

Each wire ring had a trinket attached. Wellington SPCA spokesman Mark Collyns said a dead sparrow was found in the eastern Wellington suburb of Kilbirnie a week ago, and by this weekend, four more had been found. One of the sparrows found dead in Wellington, strangled by a trinket placed round its neck. Trinkets included a pair of dice as well as a star, heart, and triangle cut from plastic.

"We can only assume that these were made and attached as some sort of decoration in mind, but the result is that they are becoming trapped in the birds' beak when they are trying to remove them, and the bird is dying as a result," a SPCA spokesperson said. "These birds will be suffering tremendously and having a slow death from starvation."

The SPCA received another couple of calls about dead sparrows on Monday morning. Collyns said it was assumed the person behind the killings had no sinister intent but "you just don't know do you". "It seems a bit far-fetched to think it's being done because of dislike. It's obviously a slightly warped way of showing care," he said. It was unclear how the sparrows had been trapped and decorated in the first place.

There's an audio news report here.

One woman killed and several people injured by rhinoceros on the rampage in Nepalese town

A rhinoceros that escaped from a nature reserve charged into a town in southern Nepal on Monday, killing a woman, injuring several others and chasing panicked people through the main market and a hospital.

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Attempts to force the rhino out of Hetauda city by honking car horns and beating drums were unsuccessful, with the animal running from one area to another, government administrator Ram Prasad Thapaliya said.

Teams with tranquilliser guns were on their way to attempt to capture it, he said. Thapaliya said the rhino gored a 61-year-old woman on the outskirts of Hetauda. An unknown number of people were injured, he said.

YouTube link.

It chased people around the main market and the city bus station, he said. “The whole town is terrorised by this animal. It even entered the local hospital, forcing terrified people to jump over the fences,” Thapaliya said. Hetauda is about 50 miles south of Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital.

Officials say monkey attacking train drivers is seeking revenge for death of sibling

Over the past week a monkey in the West Champaran district of Bihar, east India, has attacked three train drivers.

AK Jha, a railway official in the region, says the money is determined "to take revenge for the death of one of its siblings." Last week, a monkey was run over by a goods train near the Valmiki Nagar Train Station.

Since then, his avenger has been busy. The driver of a goods train was attacked on Saturday and had to be rescued by railway officials. The monkey then attacked another goods train driver but he was able to lock himself in the engine cabin.

"Another goods train driver attacked by the monkey flashed a distress message on his walkie talkie to the station staff to rescue him," Mr Jha said. Now, train drivers have been asked to be alert when they stop their trains at the station.

Intoxicated Good Samaritan found attempting to give kiss of life to inflatable dinghy

A good, but very drunk, Samaritan spent the night in prison after police found the man trying to breathe life into an inflatable dinghy in Brittany, western France.

The 22-year-old man was found by police in a shipyard just after 4am on Sunday in the western town of Vannes. Officers noticed the man kneeling by an inflatable boat and went to investigate.

"He was underneath a boat, on his knees, trying to resuscitate a rubber dinghy," local police said. The man told officers that someone was unconscious inside the vessel, but upon closer inspection officers discovered the young man was instead performing CPR on the inflatable boat itself.

To make matters worse, he had already called out firefighters to the scene, an emergency call that the police promptly cancelled. Police took the man to prison to sleep off his hangover and recover his senses.

Drunk defendant ordered to pay compensation after falling down and smashing court toilet

A defendant who drank vodka to calm his nerves before appearing in court ended up knocking back too much and fell down the toilet. Magistrates heard how Naheem Gorsi was so drunk he crashed into the public lavatory at Pennine Magistrates Court in Burnley, Lancashire, smashing it into three pieces and causing damage to the tune of £450.

Gorsi had been drawing attention to himself in the waiting room because of the state he was in. He went to use the toilet and a security guard heard some young people, who had opened the door, laughing at him, and a smash. The officer then found the lavatory in bits on the floor. The defendant, who had been due at a fines court over a drink driving conviction, ended up back before the bench for a further hearing, where he admitted damage at the court.

Gorsi, 34, of Nelson, was ordered to pay £300 compensation. Prosecutor Mrs Alex Mann told the court it appeared the defendant had “spent the day” drinking vodka and coke, hidden in a coke bottle. He became more and more disruptive and had been told off for playing his music too loud on his phone and smoking in the wrong place outside the court, Miss Mann said: “It seems he was nervous about his court hearing.

“He did acknowledge he shouldn’t be in front of the court drunk.” Mr John Rusius, for Gorsi, said he had had a drug problem in the past and had managed to resolve that after his family put him through a detoxification programme. He had only recently come out, wasn’t feeling great and had some drink because he had pain in his legs. The defendant came to court, had to wait rather longer than expected and drank more than he should have.

Dog chasing cat got head stuck in car engine

A dog that chased a cat under a car got its head stuck in the engine. Woody the Bedlington Terrier got himself jammed in the workings of a neighbour's Vauxhall Corsa after the pursuit in Plymouth, Devon, on Friday evening went horribly wrong. Woody scrambled under the car but then went up through the undercarriage and was only found when the owner opened the bonnet.

He spotted the dog's head perfectly wedged inside the engine. Woody's owner Mike Tracey, said: "My neighbour opened up the bonnet of his car Woody was just sat there looking at me. It was almost like he was saying, 'I'm stuck dad'". After trying to free him, with the help of fellow residents, the 52-year-old owner was forced to call the fire service for assistance. Mike added: "We thought about using a jack to try and get him out but we were worried about something going wrong.

"I didn't really want to call the fire brigade and be one of those 'cat stuck in a tree kind of people' but they turned up and were absolutely brilliant." A crew from Crownhill fire station attended and helped free a bashful Woody by removing one of the leads within the engine, to allow him to be pried out of the top. The three-year-old dog was covered in oil but didn't sustain any injuries during his mini-ordeal and was right as rain after a good bath.

But Woody may need a bit longer to deal with the embarassment after his unique ordeal. Mike added: "I think he was feeling a bit sheepish as there was a bit of a crowd to watch the firefighters get him out. Even the firemen said 'well, this is a new one' when they turned-up. I plan to go up to the station and say thank you to them because they didn't take the mick at all and were really good about the whole thing. Woody does seems a bit sulky but I suppose he has been through a lot."

Monday, March 30, 2015

Feet warmers

Capybara have a hot tub party on a cold day

Video has no sound.

YouTube link.

Police pursuit involved stolen car with 'We support our local police' written on back window

The driver of a stolen car in California with "We Support Our Local Police Dept." written on its back window did his best to evade Buena Park and Anaheim patrol officers while speeding through local streets on Friday afternoon.

At around 12:40pm, Buena Park police spotted a black Toyota Corolla that had been reported stolen in the Buena Park Hotel and Suites. Patrol officers waited for a man to get in the car with three passengers, at least one of whom was a woman, before they tried to pull over the unidenitifed driver, Buena Park police Lt. Rich Forsyth said.

The driver refused to pull over and started a chase from Buena Park to streets near Disneyland, sometimes travelling on the wrong side of the road and through red lights, authorities said. A patrol officer tried to stop the speeding driver several times using a PIT manouever but failed. Shortly after 1pm, the driver cut through a shopping centre in Anaheim and crashed into several shopping carts.

He then bailed from the car and quickly surrendered by dropping to his knees and placing his hands behind his back. The three passengers placed their hands outside the car at the time of surrender, and all four were taken into custody. The driver was arrested on suspicion of grand theft auto and felony evading.

Man set house and car on fire following dispute over a picture

Police officers in Hardin, Kentucky, were dispatched to multiple fires early on Saturday morning. The first was reported as a vehicle that was stuck in a large creek bed fully engulfed in flames.

Officers met with members of the Hardin-South Marshall Fire Department at the scene. It was suspected that the vehicle had purposely been set on fire. While First Responders were on scene battling the vehicle blaze, another call came in of a structure fire nearby. The residence was occupied by a Connie Ham, of Hardin.

The vehicle ablaze in the creek bed was also registered to Connie Ham. Upon investigation by Deputies, it was determined that Ham's alleged boyfriend, Corey Glentz, had started both fires. Glentz was still at the scene of the house fire when deputies arrived. Glentz told deputies he had been in a dispute with Ham over a "picture."

Glentz told deputies he had set fire to the vehicle in the creek and returned to the house to set the house on fire. Ham and two juveniles were in the house at the time the blaze started. Everyone was able to get out safely. Corey Glentz, 22, of Wingo, Kentucky faces arson and criminal mischief charges.

Strange animal caught in trap turned out to be an unusual-looking raccoon

When an Oglethorpe County man made a call to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources recently to report he caught an animal he could not identify, it prompted a visit from a wildlife expert. “He described it to me (over the phone) and I couldn’t get a grasp on what he had,” DNR Wildlife Technician Nick Holbrooks said.

After noticing that an animal was making repeated visits to his trash can, the resident of the Salem community south of Crawford set out a live trap to catch whatever was getting into his garbage. After receiving the call, Holbrooks and Conservation Officer Sgt. Brian Carter stopped by to take a look at his captive. “There’s no doubt it was a raccoon,” Holbrooks said.

But this racoon didn’t have the bandit-face markings and the striped tail. This fellow had a coat of blonde fur giving it an almost fox-like appearance. The experts also ruled out the possibility of the raccoon being an albino. “This raccoon was not albino as it lacked certain traits of albinism,” Holbrooks said.

“I’m not sure whether to call this a recessive gene trait showing or just a rare occurrence,” he said. “I have heard of and seen mounted specimens, but this is the first live one I’ve seen.” Holbrooks and Carter marvelled over the animal’s appearance and agreed it would make a coveted prize for a racoon hunter. The trapper took the raccoon to another rural section of the county and set it free, so for now the blonde one continues to roam through the night in Oglethorpe County.

Hemp smoothie maker ordered to amend advertising implying that it could get you high

Popular New Zealand salad and sandwich chain Habitual Fix has been ordered to pull advertising for its top-selling hemp smoothie because it made it sound like the drink could get you high. The advertising for Habitual Fix's hemp smoothie included slogans such as "Man, that's some strong stuff", "Just ask your dealer," and "Don't panic, we also do munchies".

The $7.50 smoothies are a blend of hemp oil, cucumber, mint, yoghurt and apple juice. They were being served in a plastic cup with a cannabis leaf on the front. Tim Benest from Habitual Fix says gives his four children aged 4 to 12 a green hemp smoothie each morning. "They love it. It's a great way to get kids to eat their vegetables." The hemp smoothie was the second-highest seller with 1,000 made each week around New Zealand, he said.

The store at Auckland Airport didn't sell many because airline staff cautiously avoided it due to drug testing concerns. "People still don't understand it has no drug in it. It is harmless but is very healthy. It's a fantastic product," Benest said. This week, the Ministry of Primary Industry contacted the owners of Habitual Fix and ordered them to amend the advertising. The store was told to remove all health claims, drug references and to stop using images of the cannabis leaf.

All advertising was immediately altered. Benest said he was happy to comply and only used drug references to provoke debate so staff could point out that there was no drug in the drink. "A lot of people don't know the difference so we wanted to create an opportunity to talk about it," Benest said. Hemp oil is legal in New Zealand because it does not contain the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Benest stood by the health claims of the smoothie but said they would no longer be used in advertising.

Helicopter dispatched during police pursuit of suspected wine-drinking cyclist

A police helicopter was dispatched on Thursday afternoon to monitor events as a man was arrested on suspicion of riding a bicycle while drinking a bottle of wine in Llanelli, South Wales.

The man was first seen cycling in the town centre before being asked to leave by a PCSO. He cycled to a nearby car park before being arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly in a public place.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokeswoman said: "A PCSO was on patrol saw a male riding his bike in the centre, he was drinking from a bottle of wine. The PCSO asked him to leave the area and the make became aggressive.

"The male rode his bike to nearby car park where he threatened the officer and was then arrested. He is currently in custody. During the incident the police helicopter was in the area and monitored activity from the air. Several PCSOs and PCs attended the scene."

Police appeal for information following theft of five tonne sculpture

A five tonne copper and bronze sculpture has been stolen in a raid on the Watts Estate in Guildford, Surrey police have said.

The contemporary water feature by artist William Pye is said to be worth tens of thousands of pounds.

It was taken from the grounds of the Watts Gallery Estate, home to works by artist GF Watts, on Thursday. Detectives said the theft will have required planning and the use of specialist equipment.

Det Con Matt Denman said: "The theft of this unique water feature will have taken some pre-planning and several people with specialist equipment to remove the item from the site, therefore someone will know who is responsible for the theft. I urge them to share this information with us."

Kitten started house fire before saving owners by meowing until they woke up

A six-week-old kitten accidentally started a fire by knocking over a scented candle in a bedroom, but then saved the day with loud meows. Tiny Jesse, who has only been part of the Rogers family for two days, decided to go exploring her new home in Stockport, Graeter Manchester, while the family of six were fast asleep. But when she stumbled upon an unattended scented candle and knocked it over, it was her desperate meows that woke up her 12-year-old owner, Hal.

As the flames grew bigger and smoke filled the upstairs of their terraced home, the family was forced to abandon the kitten inside, unsure whether their newest family member was still alive. Lynn Rogers said: “My husband woke me up and said the house is on fire and I just couldn’t believe it. It’s like something from a film. And the smoke was really bad upstairs, my daughter Ellie was hanging out her bedroom window trying to get some clean air to breath.” The family waited a painstaking half an hour while firefighters tended to the fire and started looking for Jesse.

Lynn added: “We only got her on Thursday and my son Hal kept saying 'oh my god no, she’s dead, she’s dead'. He was just curled up crying.” But when one firefighter appeared from the house holding a tiny bundle moving fur, the family was overwhelmed with joy that Jesse had managed to survive. Lynn said: “We all just started screaming when we saw the fireman carrying Jesse in his palm. It’s unbelievable that we were all struggling to breathe and Jesse, with her tiny lungs, managed to survive the flames and smoke.” As the rest of the family received medical attention from firefighters, Jesse got in line for her own check up.

Lynn, who lives with her four children and husband, said: “I asked if they could check Jessie over too because she had been inside for so long while the flames and smoke were everywhere. They took her heart rate with the same equipment used on us and it was nearly bigger than her whole body.” The family brought Jesse home on Thursday and were surprised by her confidence and eagerness to explore but they never expected something so tiny to cause so much drama. Watch Manager David Mee said: “You should never light candles and go to bed. In addition, pets are unpredictable. If you have candles on and are leaving the room for any reason, blow them out.”

Firefighters surprised to find £90,000 in cash under bed at house they were due to set fire to

A stash of £90,000 in banknotes was found under a bed at a derelict property in Christchurch, Dorset, the day before firefighters torched the site during a training exercise. Firefighters discovered a “large amount of money” at a bungalow in Strete Mount, a former residential complex for elderly people. They were preparing the premises, which has been empty for around 18 months, for a training drill in which various items of furniture were set alight.

The hidden bounty was handed over to the police. Officers are now investigating to establish how the money got there and who it belongs to. A source, who was involved in the drill and asked not to be named, said: “They found the money under the bed when they were preparing the area. There was £90,000 in cash. We were all like ‘wow’. It was a jaw-dropping moment when they found it. Then we were all in fantasy land trying to think up how it got there.”

Craig Baker, area manager at Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, confirmed money had been found at the property the day before the exercise took place, adding: “This was handed over to Dorset Police and the housing association was notified immediately.” Strete Mount, which consists of 46 bungalows, is owned by the Sovereign Housing. A Sovereign Housing spokesman said: “Some basic furniture had been left in the bungalow and when the fire service dismantled this ahead of the exercise, they discovered the money and handed it over to the police.

“We will support the police in their efforts to establish where the money came from and who it belongs to.” A Dorset Police spokesman confirmed a “large amount of money” had been found at the premises. He said: “We have retrieved a large amount of money found by Dorset Fire and Rescue Service at a property. “Officers are currently investigating the circumstances in which it came to be there.” Cllr David Jones, county councillor for Burton and Grange, said: he was shocked to hear of the dramatic discovery. “I am very surprised indeed,” he said. “I have never heard of anything like it around here before.”