DNA snares poop-scoop scofflaws
LEBANON, N.H. — Here’s the scoop: Some apartment complexes are using DNA testing on dog doo to find out who’s not cleaning up after their pets.
The Timberwood Commons in Lebanon, N.H., opened this year and already has had problems with some residents who aren’t cleaning up messes their dogs leave.
So manager Debbie Violette is going to use commercially available DNA sampling kits to check the DNA that dogs leave behind when they go.
“We’ve tried doing the warning letters. We’ve tried all sorts of things,” she said Friday. “It’s always a problem. It’s just that the majority of people are responsible pet owners and there are a few who are not.”
She said residents have been told they must submit samples from their dogs so DNA profiles can be put on file.
“I want people to know that we’re serious about this,” she said. More than 30 dogs call the 252-unit complex home.
Violette just received the kits from a Knoxville, Tenn., company called PooPrints, a subsidiary of BioPet Vet Lab. Jim Simpson, president of the lab, said about 20 properties in the country have been using the kits.
For testing samples, the company provides a feces collection kit. A small amount is put in a solution and mailed back to the lab. DNA is extracted from the feces. The lab then checks to see if it matches any of the profiles listed for the apartment complex.
“It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done as a property manager,” said Debbie Logan, who manages the Twin Ponds Development in Nashua, which has identified some problem pet owners through the tests.
Violette said that she hasn’t decided what to do if she catches a pet owner not cleaning up after their dog but that they’ll probably be fined. Language about the DNA testing will be included in a lease addendum addressing pet issues, she said.
So far, Violette said, she has gotten a positive response from dog owners.
‘Yoda’ claims World’s Ugliest Dog title
PETALUMA, Calif. — Yoda’s short tufts of hair, protruding tongue, and long, seemingly hairless legs were enough to earn it the World’s Ugliest Dog title at a Northern California fair.
The 14-year-old Chinese crested and Chihuahua mix won the honor Friday night at the 23rd annual contest at the Sonoma Marin Fair.
Owner Terry Schumacher of Hanford, Calif. says the 2-pound dog has come a long way since she was found abandoned behind an apartment building. Schumacher says she first thought the pooch was a rat.
Yoda’s distinction comes a year after a one-eyed Chihuahua named Princess Abby claimed victory. A pedigree Chinese crested won in 2008 and another Chinese crested and Chihuahua mix was the ugliest in 2007.
In past years, the winner’s owner has received a $1,000 check.
Police nab man accused of hiding in toilet
BOULDER, Colo. — Police in Colorado have arrested a 30-year-old man accused of hiding in the tank of a portable toilet at a yoga festival last week.
Kim Kobel of Boulder police says Luke Ivan Chrisco was arrested during an unrelated panhandling investigation Thursday. Police say an officer noticed his resemblance to the toilet suspect, and Chrisco was taken into custody after he was interviewed by a Boulder detective.
Police believe he was the man discovered in the toilet at the festival in Boulder by a woman who lifted the lid. A man who checked said he saw someone covered in a tarp inside.
A festival security officer says he chased a man who eventually emerged, but the suspect slipped away. The man was covered in human waste.
Chrisco faces misdemeanor charges of unlawful sexual contact and criminal invasion of privacy.
Hacked road sign warns of zombies in Kentucky
FLORENCE, Ky. — The zombie menace has once again found its way onto a highway sign.
After pranksters switched the message on an electronic road sign, motorists in northern Kentucky were warned this week to watch for zombies along the Interstate 71-75 corridor.
The usual message about upcoming roadwork was changed to: “Nightly lane closures, zombies ahead.”
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokeswoman Nancy Wood said the Transportation Cabinet learned about the new message midmorning Thursday and turned it off until it can be fixed. Wood said officials are not amused by the prank.
The gag was hardly original. There was a spate of such pranks in 2009 in Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Illinois and Texas. Last March, someone posted a zombie warning on a highway sign in South Carolina.
Maine town leaders: Alcohol Mary Road to stay
GREENWOOD, Maine — Selectmen in a western Maine town say a small hidden-away road named for a Prohibition bootlegger will keep its name.
Greenwood selectmen voted unanimously Tuesday night against changing the name of Alcohol Mary Road after hearing from an attorney who said the name defames the family name of her client.
The client, Arthur Hertell, lives in nearby Bethel and had a grandmother named Mary. She once lived on the road, although she’s not the road’s namesake. Hertell thinks the name is a “desecration” of her memory.
Several residents who live on the colorfully named road said Alcohol Mary is a historical figure and a source of local pride.
Grads’ typo-ridden diplomas replaced
PLYMOUTH, Mass. — Graduates of a Massachusetts high school who received diplomas this month containing spelling errors are getting corrected versions — plus an apology.
The diplomas handed out to 263 Plymouth North graduates on June 4 had the word “for” spelled “fro” while the word “and” was spelled “ans.” Schools officials signed all of them without noticing.
Principal Kathleen McSweeney says that Jostens, the Minnesota company that printed the diplomas, sent new ones to the school that arrived Monday.
School officials will sign them and mail them this week.
Jostens also sent a letter of apology, saying the mistake was human error made as the company transferred artwork to a new computer system.
Man fined $100 for touching endangered seal
HONOLULU — Touching an endangered Hawaiian monk seal will cost a 19-year-old man $100.
Cameron Cayaban pleaded guilty in federal court to harassing, harming or pursuing an endangered species.
A federal magistrate judged imposed $100 in fines and fees.
Cayaban was charged with slapping a Hawaiian monk seal at Kalaeloa’s White Plains Beach in March.
His lawyer says Cayaban was overcome when he saw the seal, ran up to the endangered animal and touched it.
Witnesses reported it to military police.
Klepto kitty piles up loot in Swiss town
GENEVA — Forget mice. A Swiss cat named Speedy has an eye for finer things.
Speedy has stolen so much loot that its owner had to post leaflets throughout a northern Swiss town saying “Help, our cat steals!” and inviting people to recover their missing things.
Margrit Geiger of Wiesendangen said her kleptomaniac cat switched three years ago from bringing home mice to stealing badminton shuttlecocks, all to impress her teenage son.
Then the cat began specializing in gloves, scarves and T-shirts. The latest obsession: underwear and black socks.
Geiger says the cat has nabbed more than 100 items, and some neighbors have already claimed items back.
Veterinarian Brigitte Buetikofer says animals steal to gain attention, so ignoring them is the best cure.
NYC jail asks scantily clad visitors to cover up
NEW YORK — New York City jail officials are asking scantily clad visitors to cover up with bright green T-shirts.
The city Department of Correction spent $5,000 on 800 extra-extra-large neon shirts. They’re washed daily.
The jail dress code prohibits gang symbols, swimwear, and short skirts, among other attire. The policy requires visitors to wear clothing appropriate for a family gathering, including underwear.
The T-shirts aren’t just for women. Men with ripped clothes or T-shirts bearing expletives could also be asked to wear them. Jewelry — besides wedding rings — also is discouraged.
The new policy took effect in March.
Department spokeswoman Sharman Stein says the policy will also help catch visitors trying to sneak in contraband. The T-shirts have no pockets.
Class ring returned 50 years after it was lost
CANTON, Ga. — A 13-year-old boy has found a high school class ring in the Georgia soil and tracked down the widow of the man who lost it 50 years ago.
Kelvin Foskey Jr. was playing basketball when he spied the ring and scratched it from the earth, his father Kelvin Foskey said.
The two decided to search for its owner. They found Robert Anderson in a 1960 Dublin High School yearbook but the man had since died and relatives led them to his widow, Joan Anderson of Canton.
She was thrilled to have the ring back.
“It’s just a blessing to make someone that happy,” Kelvin Foskey said.
Joan Anderson says her husband had gone searching for the ring in 1961 near the spot where it was found earlier this month.
Slot machine pays $24,988 too much
PITTSBURGH — State regulators say a gambler won a $25,000 jackpot on a Pittsburgh casino slot machine that should have paid out only $12.
The Gaming Control Board says the false jackpot happened on May 29, 2010. The generous payout happened in one of five instances involving Rivers Casino machines that weren’t properly tested or certified.
The board was to have levied an unspecified fine against the casino. But it nixed a consent agreement with the casino Monday after some board members felt a stronger message needed to be sent.
Casino officials say the player was allowed to keep the jackpot and that it paid all taxes on it. Rivers spokesman Jack Horner says the casino takes the matter seriously and has retrained all of its technicians.