Thursday, July 02, 2015

Pecking order

Zelda the Bulldog scratches an itch

In the most graceful fashion.

YouTube link.

Distracted driver jumped opening drawbridge

Cameras on the Flagler Bridge in Palm Beach, Florida, captured a driver, identified as 29-year-old James Montano, jumping the bridge as it was going up. Police say the jump was not the act of a daredevil, but more likely distracted driving.

“Basically it was a distracted driver incident,” explained Officer Philip Salm with the Palm Beach Police Department, “the individual was coming back towards West Palm and didn't see the bridge arms coming down, it was suspected the guy was messing with his GPS." According to Salm, Montano is lucky the distraction didn’t cost him his life.

“The implications of what could have happened, had he hit at a different time or he hit the ramp and went over the side, you're talking about a potentially fatal accident," Salm said. And fortunately for Montano, his timing was impeccable. “You see the arms go down and then you see the vehicle just come in and he's hitting it just at the moment that it's starting to go up,” Salm said.

YouTube link.

The Flagler Bridge was closed for about five hours on Saturday morning as crews worked to repair the traffic arm Montano ploughed through. According to a police report, Montano and his passenger were treated for minor injuries at the scene of the crash and Montano was cited for reckless driving.

Police responding to shots fired found armed pirate on bridge

Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to “shots fired” reports on the old Seven Mile Bridge in Marathon, Florida, on Monday night

They found a man in full pirate costume packing operational black-powder pistols in holsters on each hip. Jamie Spiering, 58, was also allegedly armed with a sword and two knives.

Spiering told deputies he was on the bridge with friends for sunset. He said there were no projectiles in the pistols, and that he had fired them toward the water. But witnesses told a different story, said Deputy Becky Herrin, the Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.

They said Spiering fired one shot in the direction of cars travelling on the functioning Seven Mile Bridge, which runs parallel to the old bridge, now only used by pedestrians. Spiering was arrested and booked into county jail on a misdemeanor county of disturbing the peace. He was released on $328 bail later that night.

Town raffles chance to Taser city official

For the price of a $5 raffle ticket, Van Meter in Iowa is offering its residents a chance to use a police Taser on a city official. City Hall is selling the tickets as part of a public safety fundraiser. The raffle winner will get the chance to use a Taser on City Administrator Jake Anderson or Councilman Bob Lacy at the Van Meter Fire Association Street Dance on July 18.

"I volunteered to be tased," Anderson said. A police officer will assist with the tasing, with the proceeds going to help the department purchase a second squad car, add speed radar and possibly expand its six-member part-time and reserve force. Anderson said the idea came up during a meeting with police about funding. "The joke was sort of, 'Yeah, let's tase the administrators. They make all the friends,' " Anderson said.

"I was like, 'Yeah, that's funny. Do you think you could raise some money?' " Lacy volunteered to add a little competition, and Anderson was glad. "I didn't want there to be a 100 percent chance I'd be tased," he said. Anderson said he's never been stunned with a Taser before, adding: "I imagine it will hurt." Police Chief Bill Daggart, a former Waukee officer, acknowledged he's never been subjected to a Taser either.

He said they're not that dangerous. Issues arise when someone has a prior medical issue or already is in a state of shock and the Taser prongs go across the heart, Daggart said. "Most officers will tell you they'd much rather be tased than pepper sprayed. The effects are so short, and it doesn't burn," he said. He hopes to buy Tasers for Van Meter's department once they've raised the $5,000 to $10,000 desired to expand the force.

Teenager who woke up with pain in ear pulled out four-inch centipede

A teenager from Bryant, Arkansas, is recovering after pulling a centipede from his ear. Grant Botti, 14, was asleep when pain in his ear woke him up.

After feeling around to see what was causing the pain, the boy pulled out a 4-inch centipede. His mother Angela Botti says she retrieved the bug and put it in a bag.

She then took her son to the hospital, and the bug in the bag went along too. Doctors at Saline Memorial examined Grant and said the centipede had caused abrasions to his eardrum and ear canal, which they covered with a bandage.

Grant's mother says she's not sure where the bug came from but noted that the family had just came back from the beach. Hospital staff told the family they've pulled many things from ears before but never a centipede.

Man found hiding in kennel claimed dog had eaten his electronic tag

A 39-year-old man found by police hiding in a kennel told officers a dog ate his electronic tag, a court in Northern Ireland has heard.

Darren Curry, of Derry, appeared before Derry Magistrates Court where he pleaded guilty to criminal damage. The offence took place on March 8.

The court was told that police called to deal with an unrelated matter and noticed that Curry's electronic tag to monitor him while on bail was missing. When questioned about it, Curry said that the dog had eaten it.

The court heard that the defendant had been found in a dog kennel at the time he answered the police officer's question. Seams Quigley, defence solicitor, said: 'Maybe the dog did eat his homework, I don't know.' Curry was given a two year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £223.81 compensation for the damage to the electronic ankle tag.

Cow rescue hindered by 'randy' bulls

Four "randy" bulls had to be kept at bay with water jets while a trapped cow was rescued in Derbyshire. The bulls were found circling the heifer, after its head became lodged between two trees on a steep bank in Alfreton, police said.

The RSPCA said the stricken cow was very weak, dehydrated and surrounded by four large uncastrated male Limousin bulls. It took three hours to release the cow, which has since been "recovering" from the ordeal, earlier this month. RSPCA animal welfare officer Andy Snowdon said he was grateful firefighters from Matlock and Alfreton used their hoses to keep the bulls away.

"Their jets of water helped keep me safe while we winched the trees apart and managed to free the cow," he said. "I love all animals, but I have to admit having four large randy bulls circling around me was quite an interesting experience and one I don't want to repeat any time soon." The cow appeared tired but in good health after an RSPCA vet checked it over, following the rescue on 20 June.

YouTube link.

In other cow related news, on Monday morning Adam Kelly spotted this herd of runaway cows making a bid for freedom through a residential street in Mid Calder, West Lothian, Scotland, as the animals were closely pursued by a police van and the unlucky farmer.

YouTube link. Original Facebook video.

Sneezing assaults man denies string of attacks

A man has appeared in court accused of committing a string of assaults on people after they sneezed.

Stephen Jackson, 49, from Carlisle, entered not guilty pleas at Carlisle magistrates court to allegations he assaulted 11 women, one man and a child between October 2014 and March this year.

He denies assault by beating against Jean Thompson, Moureen Taylor, Janet English, Elizabeth Whyte-Caine, Christopher Dale, Thelma Stewart, Muriel Lumley, Cynthia Nicholson, Janice Bell, Carolyn Millican, Mira Evans and Ann Hewetson.

Jackson also pleaded not guilty to an offence of common assault against a young girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons. The offences were said to have been committed in Carlisle, with several understood to involve mostly elderly people being slapped on the head. The defendant faces a two-day trial at the same court on a date to be fixed. He was granted unconditional bail.

Man accused of attempting to steal money of a value unknown from lady's private parts

A man has appeared in court charged with attempting to rob a woman of money that was in her private parts.

Paul Clint Wells, 38, of Torquay in Devon, appeared at Torquay Magistrates' Court.

He was charged under section 1(1) of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 for the offence of attempting to rob a woman of money of a value unknown from her private parts on June 17 in Torquay.

He was not required to enter a plea during his appearance. Wells was remanded in custody and will next appear at Exeter Crown Court on Thursday, July 9.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The cat that got the cream

Here's a fennec fox attacking a toy mouse

It's a feisty little thing.

YouTube link.

Police hunt wheelchair bank robber

A search is underway for suspect in a wheelchair who held up a bank in Astoria, Queens, New York. Police said he held up the Santander Bank in Queens shortly after 2pm on Monday.

He passed a note to a teller demanding cash, and did not display a weapon, police sources say. The teller complied, and police said the suspect made off with $1,212 in cash. He fled in the wheelchair, police said.

“It’s a little surprising,” one person in the area said. “I thought it was a joke at first when I overheard, but with all the police officers coming in, I realised it was serious.”

YouTube link.

The suspect was described as a black male between 25 and 30 years old, weighing about 160 pounds and clean shaven. He was last seen wearing a grey hoodie in a black wheelchair, police said. It was not clear whether the suspect really needed the wheelchair or if he used it as a disguise.

Woman arrested after mango-related shooting

A man plucking what he describes as a 'perfect-looking mango' from a Florida street says the woman who owned the tree the fruit came from fired a shot at him for trying to take it.

Christopher Richey says he was on his way back from an anniversary celebration with his wife when he spotted the pristine mango on a road in Fort Myers. "I wouldn't even have turned around for it if it wasn't a good mango," Richey said.

After Richey had the mango, he said the homeowner drove up, accused him of stealing mangoes from her yard and threatened to shoot him. Josefina Tometich, 64, allegedly went into her home, returned with a .22 calibre BB gun, which deputies say she used to shoot out the rear window of Richey's truck.

YouTube link.

Tometich's family says "no trespassing" signs are on the property, and they'll put up more, to deter mango thieves. But Richey maintains the mango he saw was in the roadway, and therefore free for the taking. In the end, he and his wife left without any mangoes. Tometich was arrested for firing a missile into a dwelling, vehicle, building or aircraft.

Stolen six-metre tall koala recovered after being found stashed under trees

A six-metre tall inflatable blue koala has been stolen from the roof of a Harvey Norman store in Horsham, in western Victoria, Australia.

Police said the koala was untied and dragged from the roof of the store in the early hours of Sunday morning. Staff found it deflated and stashed under some trees a few hours later.

Acting Inspector Brendan Broadbent said they were still trying to work out who was responsible. "People driving past Harvey Norman in the past couple of weeks would've seen the large inflatable koala over the top of the shop and that was taken and dragged away," he said.

"I'm sure that someone would've seen something because it was approximately a six-metre-high koala, so for people to get up on the roof and take that would've taken some time." It is believed to be worth about $10,000. Anyone with information is being urged to contact Horsham police.

Pirate monkey bit make-up artist on the ear in sneak attack

One of the monkeys used in filming of Pirates of the Caribbean has attacked a make-up artist at Movie World on Australia's Gold Coast.

The 54-year-old woman was on a sound set, which is not related to the film, when she was bitten on the ear at about midday on Tuesday. Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman Steven Burns said the woman was taken to hospital in a stable condition.

He said she told paramedics it was an unprovoked attack. "The monkey had come up from behind the lady and bit her on her right ear," Mr Burns said. "They lady wasn't, we believe, making an attempt to approach the monkey, she was sitting down and it came up to the woman and bit her on the ear. Her bleeding was controlled.

"Fortunately it was not [a serious injury] and we were able to manage it quite well. We believe the monkey was part of the Pirates of the Caribbean film set. But at the time when the monkey bit the lady, it was [on] a different movie set, it was at the Movie World sound stage for a different filming set. It's not related to Pirates of the Caribbean."

Orphaned tree kangaroo joey saved by being moved into surrogate wallaby mother's pouch

A tree kangaroo joey, which has been saved after being transferred into the pouch of a surrogate wallaby mother, is making its first public appearance at Adelaide Zoo in Australia. Zoo keepers found the joey's mother had been killed by a falling branch in November last year. The joey was too young to be hand reared, which meant the only option available was to try and cross-foster the joey into the pouch of a surrogate wallaby mother. Cross-fostering is a special breeding technique that Adelaide Zoo began pioneering in the 1990s and involves the transfer of joeys to the pouch of a surrogate mother of a different wallaby species.

Adelaide Zoo veterinarian Dr David McLelland said cross-fostering had never been attempted on a tree kangaroo until now. "We've had great success over the years cross-fostering between wallaby species, but the specialised breeding technique has never been used on a tree kangaroo," he said. "Not only are tree kangaroos distant relatives of wallabies, they also have many behavioural and physical differences. We had no idea if the yellow-foot rock-wallaby would accept the tree kangaroo joey, but if we wanted to save the joey we had to try our luck."

The cross-foster procedure to get the tree kangaroo joey to latch onto the new teat ran smoothly and zoo keepers closely monitored the wallaby over the next couple of days to determine if the attempt was successful. Adelaide Zoo team leader of natives Gayl Males said tiny ripples of movement over the following days confirmed the joey was alive and thriving, tucked carefully away in its surrogate mother's pouch. "We were so excited when we confirmed the joey had made it past the first critical 24-hour period," Ms Males said. "We were uncertain as to whether the joey was going to be accepted. This joey was completely different from other joeys in body shape and behaviour – it certainly wriggled around more than a wallaby joey."

YouTube link.

The joey, which has been named Makaia, first popped its head out of the pouch at the end of January. Makaia stayed with his surrogate mum for about three and half months, until Ms Males took over caring for him. "He's certainly a cheeky little fellow and loves running amok, testing the boundaries, using my home as his personal playground, climbing on everything, pulling toilet paper off the rolls, but he also loves quiet time cuddling with my husband in the evening while we watch TV," Ms Males said. Adelaide Zoo said it would share its findings with other zoos around the world to help guide breeding efforts for endangered tree kangaroo species and increase the success of internationally coordinated captive breeding programs.

Wildlife experts say rusty bits of tin should be left alone

Rusty bits of tin found in Dorset nature reserves should be left alone, a wildlife charity has urged. They are vital shelters for reptiles and are placed there by researchers counting protected species.

Reptile conservationist Gary Powell said: "If tins are disturbed outside of an official survey then it can affect the results of the research". Disturbing protected species could result in breaking the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations Act.

Conservationists from Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and Dorset Wildlife Trust leave small pieces of tin and sometimes roofing felt at Upton Heath nature reserve in Corfe Mullen. All six native reptiles can be found there.

The smooth snake, adder and grass snake, the common lizard, slow worm and the UK's rarest lizard, the sand lizard. Dorset Wildlife Trust said: "If you spot small pieces of tin or bits of roofing on a nature reserve, please don't lift it up to see reptiles underneath. Did you know you actually need a licence to do this? Anything to disturb them may be breaking the law."

Killer seagull is eating pigeons in London

A killer seagull has been butchering pigeons in Plumstead, south east London, before feasting on their dead bodies. Residents near Plumstead Common claim the violent bird has been picking off an average of four unfortunate pigeons per day.

Aine McGrillen said: "We are trying to figure out if it is just one feral seagull or if this is a group of them. Is this usual seagull behaviour?" She added: "It killed one in Barnfield Gardens car park this morning, then flew off with it in its beak. Imagine if that dropped on your head!

It actually looks like this. (Image contains dead pigeon being eaten by killer seagull.)

"I guess it is just nature doing its survival thing. It is quite tense when you watch it just hanging out with the pigeons, casual as anything and then he picks his mark and swoops in." Other neighbours claimed the bloodthirsty bird has a voracious appetite and has been menacing the bird population for several years, once "munching" through 10 in one night.

Kirsty Wilson said: "It was doing it a couple weeks back and killed about 10 in one night. For 3-5 days every morning when I'd leave for work at 5 I'd see him there, then when I returned still be there, just munching away at the pigeons! Never seen such a sight before." And Emma Ledgerwood added: "It's been doing it for over two years and kills at least four pigeons a day. It's awful to watch for the pigeons' sake but I suppose it's all nature's ways of keeping the population down."

Expert contacted to deal with snake in computer that turned out to be a red and black cable

A snake expert got a call in the middle of the night about a snake trapped in a computer which turned out to be a cable.

Geraint "Snakeman" Hopkins, from Llanelli, West Wales, received the call at around 2.30am last week from a worried man from Cardiff who had contacted South Wales Police. The gentleman had bought the computer in Cardiff and believed there was a snake inside it.

Mr Hopkins said: "They wanted me to go to Cardiff, but I am a volunteer and it was really late so I couldn't get there. I asked them if they could send me a picture instead. After looking at the picture the gentleman said he realised it was actually a red and black lead.

"When I told the police they thought I was joking, and then when they realised I was telling the truth, they couldn't believe it." Mr Hopkins said he gets numerous snake call outs of an unusual nature. "It's not the first time I have had a call like this," he added.