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The Odd Truth, June 4, 2003

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum. A new collection of stories is published each weekday. On weekends, you can read a week's worth of The Odd Truth.

Crying Fowl

BEIJING - A nature park in northern China has drawn complaints by allowing visitors to use real guns to kill baby chickens.

"The animals killed are all domestic fowl," said an official at the Mianjiang Mountain Park in Dandong, a city in the northeastern province of Liaoning, who gave his surname as Li.

The state-run newspaper Beijing Evening News said residents questioned by a reporter complained that the shooting was upsetting children visiting the park, as well as protected species housed nearby.

"When the bullets dropped, the small animals were terrified," the report said.

Although shooting domestic animals and fowl is not illegal, Qin Hailong of the Wild Animal Protection Office of Dandong's Forestry Bureau, said his office was negotiating with the park on closing the feature.

A Rich Future At Age 90

TALLAHASSEE, Florida - At age 90, Luis Salazar has a rich future. He's won a $16 million lottery jackpot. Florida lottery officials think he's their oldest winner ever. Salazar had the choice of taking a $10 million-plus lump sum payment or 30 annual payments of more than $500,000 each. He's opted to take the cash payout. Salazar says he'll donate some money to his church, spend some on his grandkids and family, and maybe do some traveling.

Topless Train Hang

HOQUIAM, Washington - Hanging upside down from a moving train isn't bad enough. Police in Washington state charge that a woman was doing it topless. Robin Bishop faces a number of counts after being arrested early Monday. Police say she was spotted by a train engineer hanging from a ladder on the rear of a moving train. According to police, she was wearing a pair of blue jeans and nothing else. Police say she hit one officer with a rock and tried to escape when they arrested her. Officers suspect she may have been drinking.

Another Mother's Milk

STIGLER, Oklahoma - Oklahoma health officials say it's common sense that you don't breast-feed another woman's child.

But that's allegedly what happened at a daycare center in Stigler.

Authorities have charged Shannon Denney with outraging public decency and public morals. The center has since closed.

Prosecutors say the three-month-old girl was crying and giving her a bottle didn't calm her down.

The state Department of Human Services, which licenses daycare centers, has no policy addressing breast-feeding someone else's child because, in the words of a spokesman says it's "something that today you don't even think about."

The International La Leche League promotes breast-feeding but says it discourages women from nursing another woman's child because viruses can be transmitted through breast milk.

The Cat Came Back

STANTON - A cat belonging to a west Michigan woman is expected to recover after being shot through the head with two arrows.

Jamie Muniz says her eight-year-old cat, Debo, had been missing about a week when it returned to her home Friday.

The Stanton woman says the arrows were sticking diagonally through his head. But Muniz says Debo didn't act like much was wrong - he was simply meowing and looking for his food.

A non-profit cat sanctuary spent hundreds of dollars for Debo to undergo surgery and receive other medical care Muniz couldn't afford.

The arrows were surgically removed Monday. Debo ended up losing one of his eyes. If all goes well, he'll be back home in a few days.

Police are looking for whoever shot Debo. The person responsible could be charged with animal cruelty, a felony that carries up to four years in prison.

Cougar In The Kitchen

BEND, Ore. - When Linda Bertolani left her front door ajar for her Himilayan cat, she got another feline visitor — a full-grown cougar.

The cougar sneaked into her kitchen Sunday night and let out a high-pitched scream, Bertolani said. He had her 16-year-old cat, Sebastian, in his mouth.

"You should have seen Sebastian's fur flying," Bertolani said.

The cougar dropped Sebastian, ran from the house and vanished over a fence before the police and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife got there.

Sebastian is recovering at home.

Corey Heath, a Deschutes Wildlife District biologist, said no other cougars have been spotted since Bertolani's call. The last time a cougar showed up near Bend was three weeks ago in the Deschutes River Woods.

Cougar sightings are fairly common in Central Oregon, but reports of attacks on humans are not, Heath said.

Homeowners who feel imminently threatened can legally destroy the animals during hunting season — Jan. 1 through May 31, and Aug. 1 through Dec. 31 — if they have a hunting permit with a cougar tag, he said. A cougar may also be shot if it kills livestock.

Heath said people should not run if they encounter a cougar, but instead try to scare the animal away by making noise, throwing rocks or waving a coat in the air.

Jeweler's Hound Gulps Half-Carat Diamond

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Jewelry store owner Joy Kilner's pet basset hound is seriously in the doghouse after gulping down one of her $1,800 half-carat diamonds.

Kilner owns a jewelry store called The Vault in downtown Santa Cruz. She says Lola chomped on the diamond as she was transferring some of her precious stones on a tray into the safe in early May.

Lola grabbed a plastic case containing a half-carat rock and bit into it, much to the dismay of Kilner and a co-worker.

"We looked down and saw she had a loose diamond in her mouth. She bit on the plastic case and the diamond went right in to her jowl," Kilner said. "I had her mouth open and Paul and I are prying her jowls to pull out the diamond, and the little stinker goes, gulp!"

Joy said Tuesday that she and her husband Doug have now given up on the waiting game of monitoring Lola's daily constitution to see if the diamond might reappear.

Lola's X-rays show no sign of the diamond and a veterinarian thinks it may be stuck in her intestines.

For the record, and the memories, it was a triple ideal cut, laser inscribed round diamond that the puppy Lola called lunch.

Kilner said she's chalking up the diamond as a loss and a lesson.

"We're just more cautious now," Kilner said late Tuesday.

Man Charged After Taking Baby To Hooters

ROCKVILLE, Maryland - The little guy was just hanging out with the big boys - at Hooters. Now, a Maryland dad is in trouble with the law. Dennis Mallik faces criminal charges for allegedly bringing his three-month-old son with him to a Hooters. Police say they got a call from the Hooters manager, saying a drunk guy was trying to order a drink with a baby in his arms. The manager refused to serve any booze to the man. Police say they found Mallik and his baby in the restaurant parking lot. The infant was taken into protective custody and later released to a family member. Mallik has been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a child and endangering a baby while intoxicated.

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