Wednesday, January 28, 2004

It is a wild and wooly day in the world of animal news. Today's tidbits include mollusks, mammals, birds and reptiles. Throw a human or two into the mix, and you get a pile of stories nuttier than a box of turtles. Today it's TunaNews, Animal-Style!

Waiter, There's a Clam in my Soup
A Florida man blamed clam soup for his psychological and sleep disorders and subsequently sued for over $50,000 in damages. Judge and jury felt the case lacked merit, and the prosecution suggested that perhaps the man's previous prison term and his current listing as a sexual predator may have caused some of his psychological anxiety. The mollusk clammed up at the proceedings, and the shell-shocked plaintiff was awarded a mere $407 in damages.

And Your Little Kids, Too
The awful headline reads 134 Cats, 6 Dogs removed from Utah Home. It's definitely a cringe-worthy tale, and yet the whole story is written in a very "Hey, an apple!" kind of way. The animal cruelty investigator was quoted as saying, "You could see cats on top of everything, tables, chairs, Tupperware containers, beds, the floors." Well, yes. Cats on floors? Not that unusual. The same goes for cats on beds, tables and chairs. I suppose I can give you Tupperware containers as unusual, but I don’t really understand why, in the midst of 140 cats and dogs, the animal cruelty expert felt compelled to comment on molded plastic foodsavers in her report.

The truly odd thing about this story is that in addition to all the animals, there were three children in the house as well. You'd never know by the headline, and you'd scarcely know from the article. Mention of the children was limited to 13 words of a 110-word article. Don't get me wrong. Animal cruelty is horrible stuff. But cruelty towards children should rate more than 13 words.

A Day at the Beach
The cold weather these days is no picnic for Virginia Beach pelicans. Animal rescuers are doing everything they can to lure the birds out of the water before they freeze. It's too bad The Pelican Man isn't around anymore to help out. It looks as though he has a beautiful Pelican Sanctuary in Sarasota, Florida. Leave it to a former mitten-man to turn a turkey baster and a bathtub into a million dollar animal rescue enterprise.

There's a Snake in my Boot
Neighbor got you down? Feel like nobody is listening? What better way to get your point across to your enemies than put a live poisonous snake in the mail. This idiotic reptilian scheme was hatched by a father (who was both lawyer and judge) and his son who were feuding with neighbors about who was to pay for a faulty four-wheeler. The dopey duo, which had planned to plead guilty to this heinous act, then proceeded to fail a random drug test. Prosecutors, wanting to try the two men together, were forced to wait, as the elder idiot still had traces of Marijuana in his system on Monday. It is expected that the pair will admit to mailing "unmailable" material (Hrmph. I thought that’s what taxes were). Whatever you call it, "mailing unmailable material" sounds a lot less threatening then being charged with attempted murder on the UPS Express.

Can't we all just get along?
Oh California. You've done it again. The $1.5 million lawsuit trial is about to get underway, pitting a disgruntled dog owner against the city of Escondido and a former cat. Former, because the cat went to the big litterbox in the sky last October. Escondido, because that is the location of the city library where the now-deceased cat hung out. Dog owner, because it was his 55-pound Labrador that was scratched on the nose while in the library in question, by the now-deceased cat. Disgruntled, because during said altercation, the owner went into a full scale panic attack when his dog was "mauled", and has since had to live with the humiliation of being the owner of the "wuss dog that got beat up by a cat."

The disgruntled dog-owner (serving as his own lawyer, if that gives you a clue about his mental stability) is going for a Mohammad Ali themed legal battle. He plans to demonstrate how the former cat was much like Ali: a tiger in the ring (the library), and a pussycat outside of it. He also hopes to enter into evidence a picture of him (the guy, not the cat) with the boxing great, claiming the photo gives him (the guy, not Ali) credibility.

Surely it will take a judge with the Wisdom of Solomon to sort out this mess. Too bad Snake guy is busy with his own legal woes. If disgruntled dog guy happens to win, maybe he can rescue a pelican and then celebrate with a bowl of soup. Just watch out for those clams.
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