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The Odd Truth, Sept. 25, 2004

The Odd Truth: Weekend Edition is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's William Vitka.

A Dog Eat Dog World

DENNIS, Mass. - A pooch named Rafferty probably won't get any "Best in Show" awards after it mauled and killed a terrier at a Cape Cod dog show.

Evelyn Galloway, 74, and her Yorkshire terrier named Libby had just performed at "Pooches on Parade" at the Dennis Senior Center on Thursday when Rafferty, a nearly 100-pound Bouvier des Flandres, attacked Libby and "picked her up like a rag doll," Galloway said.

Three people had to wrestle the four-pound terrier out of the jaws of the "service dog" owned by Autumn Daniels, of Dennisport, who uses a wheelchair.

An on-duty animal control officer heard the commotion and rushed to help. Libby was rushed to an animal hospital in Hyannis, but died about 30 minutes into surgery, Galloway told The Cape Cod Times. The show continued after the incident, according to dog owner Estelle Hill.

On Thursday, Animal Control Officer Cheryl Malone spoke with Daniels, who told Malone that she trained Rafferty herself, Malone said.

Malone said she will recommend that Rafferty wear a muzzle in public, at the least, but the dog's fate has not been decided. The Times could not reach Daniels for comment.

There are no federal guidelines for training and certification to ensure service animals are safe, said Michelle Cobey, who works in resource support for the Delta Society, an international nonprofit that matches the disabled with professionally trained animals.

Under Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines, a dog is considered a service dog if it has been "individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability."

Fear The Buckeye Bandit

AMANDA, Ohio - Sarah Young woke one morning to find her buckeye tree stripped bare of nuts. Was it the work of busy squirrels or a buckeye bandit? Young suspects the latter. "It's nuts!" Young said. "I want my buckeyes back."

It happened again last weekend. Young returned to her rural home about 25 miles southeast of Columbus and found her second buckeye tree shorn. A neighbor's buckeye tree also had been plundered.

Young and Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen suspect there's a market for supplying the shiny, brown nuts to jewelry makers who sell buckeye necklaces on the streets around Ohio State University on football game days.

"The only thing I could think of is that they make buckeye necklaces and obviously that's why somebody would want them," Phalen said. "You can't eat them."

Pet Cemetery

STANLEY, N.C. - Investigators found 40 dead animals on the property of a man whose neighbors have raised a stink about the stench. Complaints have been filed in the past about the smell coming from the yard of Charles Larry Grant Jr., 38, of Stanley, said Gaston County Animal Control Sgt. James Phil.

This time, officers found five unburied animals and charged Grant on Thursday with failure to bury or dispose of deceased animals, according to arrest warrants.

Animal control officers counted two dead rabbits, 17 chickens, seven goats, one duck and 13 pigeons on Grant's property Sept. 14, according to arrest warrants.

Investigators are uncertain about why Grant has the animals.

Deborah Kennedy and Bobby Bingham live on the same road as Grant and said they have seen dead chickens and goats lying near the street.

Animal control officers are continuing the investigation and trying to determine the cause of death for one of the animals they found, investigators said.

Reggie Horton, director of Gaston Animal Control, said additional charges could be filed against Grant.

This Assignment Stinks

DALLAS - A teacher is on paid administrative leave after sending a first-grader home with feces in his backpack because the boy soiled the classroom floor.

The teacher apparently was frustrated with the 6-year-old student's actions so she wrapped up the waste and sent it home with the boy Tuesday along with a note, Dallas school district spokesman Donald Claxton said.

Claxton declined to identify the teacher at Gabe P. Allen Elementary School.

"It generally appears the teacher was trying to help raise awareness with the family," Claxton said. "It's just an unfortunate incident. Unfortunately, she took this course of action."

Like A Snake In The…Dash?

PHILADELPHIA - When they train you to be an auto mechanic, they usually don't teach you what to do about the constrictor. Mechanics in a Philadelphia garage had to figure out how to handle one, an eight-foot, 45-pound boa constrictor that was trapped for about 18 hours inside a car dashboard.

The snake, named "Precious," somehow slithered out of its owner's house and ended up wrapped-up in a nearby Nissan, curled around the air conditioner vents.

The owner asked a car dealer for help retrieving her pet snake. The team of mechanics pulled apart the dashboard and removed the console to ease the snake from the dash to safety.