CBSN

The Odd Truth, Sept. 17, 2004

SUV hero
CBS
The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by CBSNews.com's William Vitka.

Fecal Follies

CONWAY, Ark. - A farmer who dumped three tons of manure on the route of a gay pride parade to protest the event was found guilty Thursday of misdemeanor harassment.

Wesley Bono, 35, was sentenced to 30 days in jail, but the judge suspended the sentence as long as Bono makes regular payments for restitution and court costs.

Bono admitted spreading the manure along two city streets and in front of a gay couple's home. He pleaded innocent Aug. 2, claiming he was exercising his right of free speech.

Cruisin' Canine

WHITEHORSE, Yukon Territory - An exuberant dog left in a truck while the owner watched Canada win the World Cup of Hockey managed to throw the vehicle into gear and coast down a city hill.

A man out for a walk called police after seeing the vehicle coast by with a black Labrador retriever behind the wheel.

Police arrived to find the truck in the middle of a road, blocking traffic, with the dog still at the wheel. No one was injured and there was no damage.

Going door-to-door, police managed to track down the owner.

"Subsequent investigation indicates that the dog was celebrating the Canadian victory in the world hockey game and knocked the truck into gear, causing it to roll down the hill," Whitehorse Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Wednesday in a firmly tongue-in-cheek news release.

"No word yet on how the dog is doing studying the rules for negotiating the new traffic circle."

Get A Chic Doggie Diaper, Maybe?

INDIO, Calif. - A blind couple is headed to court to resolve a dispute with their homeowner association about droppings left in the street by their guide dogs.

Dennis and Shirley Bartlett are aware of the pooper-scooper rules for their Desert Grove homeowner association, but said they sometimes miss droppings left by their dogs.

"You can't get everything all the time," Dennis Bartlett said.

The Bartletts filed a small claims suit against former association president Delmar Pierce, alleging harassment and prohibiting their guide dogs from doing what they were trained to do — defecate in the street. The case is scheduled to be heard Sept. 22.

Pierce didn't want to discuss the case, noting he's only had one conversation with Bartlett.

"During that private conversation all I said was, 'We need to talk about your dogs and relieving themselves in the streets,'" he said, adding that Bartlett doesn't want to abide by the rules of the gated community.

Association attorney Margaret Wangler said the association never told the couple not to use the streets.

"The association's concern and the reason for getting in touch with the Bartletts was that they don't clean it up all the way and that's a health and safety concern to the board."

The Great Gator Grapple

ROYALTON, Ill. - A worried neighbor's call to Animal Control led to a bizarre scene at a southern Illinois home: Four officers wrestling an alligator out of a hot tub, a house filled with animal cages, and the arrest of a man wanted by the military for desertion.

It was more than Franklin County Animal Control Supervisor Jarrett Broy had been counting on when the call came in, but he's seen crazy things before.

When Broy and another officer reached the home Monday, they spotted the 5-foot-long, 80-pound American alligator in a wooden enclosure attached to a garage. Inside the enclosure was a hot tub sunk into the ground and filled with 4 feet of stagnant water, and in the water, littered with broken turtle shells, was the alligator.

They called the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Royalton Police for a little help.

To get the alligator, Scott Ballard of the IDNR pulled on chest waders, stepped into the tub and grabbed the animal. Broy and two others then dragged Ballard and the alligator out to the ground and struggled to tape the alligator's jaws shut.

"You can't imagine that thing's tail," Broy said. "He was wanting me to turn him loose, so he'd pop me in the back — just laying it on me. Wham, wham, wham. My back is so sore."

Inside the house, meanwhile, Royalton Police Chief Denny Bush was running background checks on all the people.

One 18-year-old man came up listed as wanted by the military for desertion. The man was being held Thursday on a military pickup order at the Franklin County Jail, Sheriff Bill Wilson said.

The officers also found cages for large snakes, a room full of rats and mice, and several squirrels inside the house.

The owner of the home could be charged with possession of a threatened species for having the alligator in captivity, officials said. To keep the alligator, he would have needed a permit, which he did not have, Ballard said.

The home owner does not have a listed phone number and could not be reached Thursday for comment.

The alligator will be held at an IDNR holding facility until the case is resolved and eventually will go to a zoo or alligator farm, Broy said.

He Wouldn't Stand For It

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Rick Fisk took crime sitting down. Or at least he sat on a would-be thief until authorities arrived.

Fisk, 52, came home Tuesday morning to find a woman standing in his foyer, police said.

Julie Dye, 34, who was holding items from the house, fled when she saw the 6-foot-2, 280-pound Fisk, police said.

Fisk ran after Dye, tackled her in the front yard and sat on her.

"When they don't want to go to jail, they are a handful," Fisk said. "I told her, 'Just relax, it's the first step to get your life together.'"

Fisk's phone was out of reach so he sat on Dye and yelled for help.
After 20 minutes, a neighbor heard him yelling and called 911.

Dye was charged with second-degree burglary. She also was charged with third-degree theft for a Sept. 2 incident in which police say she stole money from someone.

She was being held Wednesday on $19,500 bail.