Dog owner Erik Torres, who owns a pet store in Doral, Florida, is facing charges after he brought his Pomeranian -- dyed to look like Pikachu -- to a Miami Heat game on Dec. 26, WPTV reported. "It made NBA history because nobody's ever seen a Pikachu dog sitting next to an NBA player before," Torres said. But Miami-Dade County Animal Services officials were unamused: "No animal should be dyed, regardless of whether there's an ordinance prohibiting that," said assistant director Kathleen Labrada. She noted it is "unlawful for any person to possess, sell or otherwise transfer within the county any dyed or artificially colored rabbit or other animal." Torres is fighting the charge, saying the dog is not for sale and he used dye that is safe for consumption. He also has no plans to remove the dye. [WPTV, 1/3/2023]
In Derbyshire, England, Phil and Jane Carter are used to seeing foxes on their lawn. But, the Telegraph reported, a Dec. 17 visitor to their garden caught their attention. Jane spotted a fox nosing around their turf looking for something to eat while balancing on its front legs -- the only legs it had -- and yelled at her husband to come see it. "It was fascinating," Phil said. "It stood bolt upright and ran like a human being on two legs." He got in touch with experts at the Derbyshire Nature Reserve, who told him the fox was likely born with the disability and had learned to survive. While foxes are usually shy, the special animal hung around for about 45 minutes before it took off "like a rocket," Phil said. [Telegraph, 1/4/2023]
Ashley Lynn, mother of a 9-month-old baby, took to social media this holiday season after her child was gifted a toy remote control, the New York Post reported. Lynn said the baby loved the toy and was "going to town chewing on" it, but then she noticed that when certain buttons were pressed, it made inappropriate comments. One was about a drive-by shooting, and another was a sexually themed joke about priests. "What? What?" Lynn said. "Walmart, explain this. Linsay Toys, explain this." Lynn reached out to Linsay on Dec. 31 and got a prompt reply, which indicated the toy would no longer be sold. Walmart said the toy was sold by a third-party seller and has been removed for not complying with its "prohibited products policy." [NY Post, 1/4/2023]
In late August, News of the Weird shared a story from Yellowstone National Park about a human foot having been found floating in the Abyss Pool, a hot spring. At the time, officials did not suspect foul play. KTLA-TV reported on Jan. 4 that investigators have now identified the person to whom the foot belonged: 70-year-old Il Hun Ro of Los Angeles. Ro's Kia SUV was found in a parking lot near the spring, and inside were his laptop, a wallet with $447 and a small book of poems -- but no suicide note. Geologists did not find any more human remains in the pool, other than "fatty deposits ... floating to the surface over time," a report indicated. The pool is more than 50 feet deep and has an average temperature of 140 degrees. [KTLA, 1/4/2023]
Matthew Greenwood, 32, and Jeremy Crahan, 40, of Puyallup, Washington, only wanted to rob a business on Christmas Day, NPR reported. But their strategy got them in much more trouble than the original crime would have. Both were charged with attacking power substations, causing thousands of people to lose electricity on the holiday; Greenwood and Crahan admitted they just wanted to empty a cash register at a local business during the outage. The sabotage amounts to a federal crime; Crahan's lawyer said he plans to enter a not guilty plea. [NPR, 1/4/2023]
For the third year in a row, the county in Oregon reporting the highest rate of cannabis sales was Malheur County -- which shares a state border with Idaho and is close to Boise. KGW-TV reported that although sales were down in 2022, they still topped out at $104 million, or $3,243 per county resident. Cannabis sales -- medical or recreational -- are illegal in Idaho, which creates a boon for the Oregon dispensaries along the border. [KGW, 1/4/2023]
It's a Mystery
Public lands officials in Salt Lake City are trying to solve a mystery: Who is placing antennae with solar panels on public property? KSL-TV reported on Jan. 4 that a few of the devices were found about a year ago, but more have been discovered in recent months. The locked battery boxes, solar panels and antennae "have been bolted into different peaks and summits and ridges around the foothills," said Tyler Fonarow, the city's recreational trails manager. "It might be related to cryptocurrency and relaying networks and being able to make money off that," Fonarow speculated. He hopes to educate the public that items cannot be installed on public lands. "We want to stop it now before it becomes a dumping ground for dozens and dozens of more antennas." [KSL, 1/4/2023]
What's in a Name?
Scott Stallings of St. Simons Island, Georgia, is not THAT Scott Stallings -- which became all too clear when he received a FedEx invitation to the PGA Masters Tournament, the Associated Press reported. Stallings reached out to golfer Stallings, who is from Knoxville, Tennessee, on Instagram: "I'm (100 percent) sure this is NOT for me," he wrote. Golfer Stallings said he had been waiting for his invite and thought maybe his wife was pranking him. But Georgia's Stallings won't miss out altogether: "We're going to give him some practice-round tickets and take him to dinner on Monday night for doing the right thing," the PGA player said. [AP, 1/2/2023]
The Askern Medical Practice in Doncaster, United Kingdom, wins the award for most Scrooge-like holiday message, the BBC reported. On Dec. 23, the center accidentally sent texts to about 8,000 patients informing them that they have "aggressive lung cancer with metastases." About a half-hour later, recipients received a second text alerting them about the error. Patient Sarah Hargreaves said she "broke down" when she read the first message: "I had just had a mole removed and was awaiting a result from a biopsy ... so yes, I was very worried." Carl Chegwin was perplexed: "It's not often I go to the doctors ... I sat there scratching my head, thinking, 'I do smoke, do they know something I don't?' If it's one of their admins that's sent out a mass text, I wouldn't be trusting them to empty the bins." [BBC, 12/29/2022]
Blame It on the Devil
In Dorchester, Massachusetts, firefighters responded to a house fire on Dec. 27 at a three-story home around 11:30 a.m., MassLive reported. Police officers at the scene talked to a witness, who said a woman named Nikia Rivera had told them, "I'm sorry, I had to do it," before she left on foot. Later, Rivera, 45, told officers, "That house is haunted. I lit the house on fire. The devil made me do it, there are ghosts in my house." While no residents or firefighters were hurt in the fire, Rivera was charged with arson and ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation. [MassLive, 12/28/2022]
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