Thursday, February 27, 2014

And more driving dogs

Dogs are such traditionalists, as any long-time reader of this blog will know. As we saw last time, the haven't stopped starting fires. And they haven't stopped driving badly, either. This time it was two dogs in a pickup truck in Tulsa, Oklahoma:
    The dogs, Roscoe and Luna, were inside their owner's truck at the top of the hill on 25th Street. In a matter of minutes, they were barreling across Riverside Drive and into the Arkansas River river bed.

    "I got around to the front of the house where the truck was, and it's like not there," he said. "And I was like 'did I get towed?' and I just thought no it didn't."

    One of the dogs put the car into gear and they took off. "Approximately three blocks down a hill," Tulsa firefighter Clay Ayers said.

The dogs missed drivers on Riverside Drive, runners on the trail and narrowly missed landing in the Arkansas River.
And really, why should dogs stop this sort of thing- or even learn to drive better? The truck was badly damaged, but the owner just said "It's an expensive joy ride," and the cops let them off without punishment. No wonder they never learn.

Monday, February 24, 2014

More canine arson

Sometimes I think it's time to retire the arsonist dog to a Bad Animal Hall of Fame. Dogs start fires by turning on the stove so often (see here, here, here, and here), as well as in other more imaginative ways,  there's even a National Pet Fire Safety Day to warn people that pets set over a thousand fires a year in the US. The blog has covered this so many times that I've gotten exhausted looking for relevant photos and you're getting the pug with matches yet again.

So you'd think this couldn't be news to anyone, but then it happens again and the owner says:
"I laughed at first. You never think this sort of thing will happen to you and you don’t expect your dog to do it. How many people can say their dog nearly burnt their house down?"
Sigh. LOTS of them, but obviously we still need each cautionary tale, so here it is: Martey, a Lab in England, was lucky that his dog walker came just in time. She found the kitchen full of smoke because he'd turned on the stove and it had set fire to everything around it. As usual, there was some food on the back of the stove and the dog had been trying to get at it. The result:
"The fire has totally destroyed the kitchen and caused smoke damage to the rest of the house." It is not known how much it will cost to repair the kitchen but Megan says all the units will need to be replaced.
They tell you to do your research before getting a dog - why don't the breed books ever tell you that small dogs that can't reach the stove are safer to own ?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The rampaging packs that you'd least expect

 A neighborhood in Phoenix is being overrun with roving bands of chihuahuas.
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Who let the dogs out? apparently a lot of people in Maryvale. Maricopa county animal care and control says packs of Chihuahuas are roaming the streets and some people in the area aren't happy about it.
"Yeah a lot of them they are out here chasing kids or going yard to yard...anywhere in groups of eight to twelve just running around," said Ray Rios, a Maryvale resident.
Frank Garcia has also seen the packs. "Well the last time I seen six or seven Chihuahuas... and big dogs running with the Chihuahua's in a pack running every single day," he said.
Reports are that children are being harassed by these gangs on their way to school, and it sounds like the dogs are strategically using their numbers to keep authorities off their game:
Animal control officials say people are calling about seeing stray Chihuahuas, but the dogs are long gone by the time they get there. They can't patrol the area because they're busy responding to dozens of calls at a time.
Sure, it's hard not to laugh when you read this - unless you've read this blog long enough, and recall the results of a careful study about what breeds are most likely to show aggression towards humans. They're dachshunds, Jack Russells, and - yes - chihuahuas.

From the looks of that photo, they've learned to climb straight up brick walls. And as they're showing, there's strength in numbers. So giggle away, but remember, the apocalypse may look like you least expect it to.

Monday, February 17, 2014

California Camel Rampage

Last week a camel escaped from a property north of Los Angeles and sent a 72-year-old man to the hospital. Steve Brefka tried to capture the animal and return it home, as he says fellow animal-owning neighbors in the area often do.

His reward was being kicked, knocked down, and bitten till he had to hide under a car till help arrived.  He told reporters:
"He was stomping me and biting me, and getting on his knees on top of my chest," said Brefka. The 72-year-old said the camel's mouth was entirely over his head.
You might think the man's loved ones would be furious - unless you're a reader of this blog and know how animals cloud people's minds. In fact the victim's daughter helped authorities corral the animal, and gave a number of interviews, and it's seriously unclear whose side she is on. She said she was able to help because the camel knows her, since she often gives it treats – and she made excuses at great length for the animal, saying how frightened it must have been. "I think the trapped him and he was scared," she said. "Any animal when you're nervous is going to act out when you trap them."

Reportedly the owner doesn't have the right permit to own the camel and other exotic animals on the property, so somebody might get punished. But I expect that as usual the camel will get off scot-free – and if he's returned to the property, I have no doubt that the victim's daughter will be back to feed him more treats.

Finally, this ought to be the sort of story that makes my blogging heart leap, but there is one element that is seriously disappointing: The camel is said to have attacked cars, and there isn't a single photo. Where were those people's cell phones? Where are my photos of a car-attacking camel??

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snowbound News Brief

I was very disturbed when I first read about new research showing that crocodiles can climb trees. Right now, though, I'd be so happy to be in a place that was warm enough for crocodiles, I'd be willing to risk having one drop on me from above my head. Read and choose for yourself.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Baaaad animals

You probably think of sheep as innocent and wooly and maybe not really smart enough to make real trouble. If so, you don't read this blog carefully enough. We've seen sheep desecrating a graveyard and rampaging through a home. A couple years ago we even saw what was basically a gang of wandering sheep hooligans - reportedly "fouling on pavements and bleating at night" - and now we've got another one.

These incidents all happened in England, where they either can't or don't want to keep their sheep under control, no matter the risk even to innocent children. In a town in Lancashire County, students at one primary school can't even go outside to play anymore, says the headmaster:

Children at Balladen Primary School are being kept indoors because of sheep invading the grounds.

He said: “I don’t think there’s been a day for some time when we haven’t seen them and the sheep dirt is everywhere. It gets on children’s shoes, it gets into school and we’ve had to stop children playing out because of it.

“We had six sheep one morning and three the day before so they’re becoming a real nuisance. They frighten the children.”
Residents also complain of damage to their gardens, and as in the previously reported case, of various levels of authority saying that the sheep problem is not their responsibility.

These sheep also interfere with traffic, as in the photograph above. The police say they're on it, and the county council claim they'll look into how to keep the sheep off the school grounds, but I don't have a lot of hope for quick action.  That photo was taken almost a year earlier, and since then it's clearly only gotten worse.

Oh, and, get this: the headmaster says there have been stray sheep around for 14 years. Longer than the current pupils have been alive.

Why are Brits so frozen with inaction in the face of these wooly desperados? What is it about sheep that gives them this power? I don't know, but we'll be following these stories closely.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dog eats car.... for a reason?

In England, a dog has a new home after chewing an impressive chunk out of her owner's fancy car (a £80,000 Aston Martin DB9 Volante, in case that means more to you than it does to me).

Owner Royston Grimstead said:
"I came home and saw her covered in white stuff and I thought she had got a bird and it was feathers - but it was the fibreglass from the car.
She had chewed out a huge chunk. I just laughed. I mean, what else could I do?"
What else he could do was give the dog away, which he did - which seems like a simple case where a bad animal had to face the consequences for a change. But look into the details and the plot thickens.

Luce had never been destructive before, but she didn't get along with Grimstead's other dog. So he's got a theory:
"I advertised to try to rehome her because she does not get on with my other dog.

She must have overheard me because she’s normally friendly and never really chewed on anything before."
 Was this Luce's revenge because he was considering giving her away? Or was she so tired of living with her annoying canine roommate that she decided to push the issue? In any case, insurance paid for the damage, and Luce has moved on to a new family, so this is one case where bad behavior had a happy ending for all.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Bad Cat News Roundup

-In a public library in New Mexico, motion-sensor alarms were going off night after night, leading to the theory that a homeless person was spending the night there, but hours of searching by the police turned up nothing. Then library staff found some clues: the dirt in potted plants had been dug up, and someone had apparently been marking his territory.

Video surveillance footage confirmed suspicions: the intruder was a cat. The feline was lured into a trap with salmon, and instead of being punished for the waste of public employee time and effort, he's been taken in by a woman on the library staff, who says she's a bit disappointed that it's all over: “We were like real detectives, doing stakeouts and setting traps. It was kind of exciting.”

-They tell you to keep your cat indoors because of it's risky for your pet and bad for the birds. But they never mention what it could bring home that's bad for you. I'll just put this link here for you to read if you're brave enough: I Caught Bubonic Plague From My Cat.

-This one is more Animal Behaving Bad-assly: A cat in California stepped into an illegal bear trap, which snapped shut on its foot. It then went home, dragging the trap all the way.

According to the vet who treated Scruffy free of charge, animals rarely survive being caught by these traps, and it's no wonder: "This one was big enough where, if a person stepped in it, it would have broken your ankle."  And while the feline might lose the leg, apparently he is not otherwise scarred by the experience: "He's bright, alert, happy, purring, and doing all the kitty things that he should be doing."

-Saving the biggest for last: A family in Chile were said to be surprised - uh, no kidding - when mom was making breakfast one morning and suddenly realized there was a puma in their kitchen. They quickly closed the door and called the police, who said that the puma (pictured above) was docile - although they still sedated it before capturing it, which took several tries because it kept removing the darts.

Since its behavior with humans suggests made them think it's probably someone's pet, police are now trying to find the owners. Once they get a lead, it'll probably be easy to prove if they're right - they'll be the ones whose house is torn apart like this family's kitchen was - check out the photos and video.