In the western German city of Kleve, a regional court in mid-January overruled a lower court and awarded the owner of a chicken mauled by a dog higher restitution because the chicken had TV experience. Sieglinde the chicken, who died in the attack, had completed 10 hours of acting training and had appeared in at least one German movie, for which she received a three-figure daily fee. The court ordered the dog’s owner to pay 615 euros (about $680) in damages, the Associated Press reported. A regular chicken is worth about 15 euros.
On Jan. 22, the National Weather Service expanded its cold-weather warnings in South Florida to include falling iguanas along with falling temperatures. According to the Associated Press, the NWS alerted folks that the reptiles can become stunned by the cold and fall from their perches in trees. As temperatures rise during the day, they wake up, unharmed. Males can grow to 5 feet long and weigh 20 pounds. They aren’t considered to be dangerous to humans (unless they land on your head).
A Polish pig farmer in his 70s who had been missing since Dec. 31 is believed to have been eaten by his livestock, Fox News reported. Lubin district prosecutor Magdalena Serafin told local media the farmer’s remains, consisting of bones and skull fragments, were found by a neighbor, who called police after spotting the bones while fetching water from a nearby well on Jan. 8. The farmer’s animals were roaming freely in the yard, and officials indicated it was clear that the pigs had feasted on him. They suspect he died of a fall or heart attack.
An unnamed 55-year-old man from the town of Pitalito, Colombia, got cold feet before his scheduled marriage over the weekend of Jan. 18, but lacked the courage to tell his fiancee. Instead, with the help of his best friends, he faked his own kidnapping, reported Oddity Central. The groom’s pals told authorities they had seen a group of armed men on motorcycles abduct their friend, and because kidnappings for extortion are not unknown in Colombia, the local police responded in force. Police commander Nestor Vargas ordered roads closed, sealing off the town, and began a search. That’s when the friends got nervous and admitted they’d made the whole thing up. Authorities kept the groom’s identity a secret to protect him from other townspeople, who’ve been down this road before: This is the second time the groom has left a bride waiting at the altar. He and his cohorts will likely face jail time of up to six years.
It’s been unseasonably cold in Florida (see Falling Iguanas item above), and one St. Petersburg man apparently became so desperate for warmth on Jan. 21 he set fire to a stack of paperwork in his apartment around 3am. WFLA reported that the flames Mark Okrent, 66, ignited were significant enough to trigger smoke detectors, which summoned the fire department, but no one in the 30-unit building was hurt in the incident. Except Okrent, who was charged with first-degree arson.
THE LAST STRAW
After numerous complaints going back six months, according to a neighbor, Robert Wayne Miller, 57, was arrested at his home Zephyrhills, Florida, home on Dec. 22 for disturbing the peace with his lawn mower. Body-camera footage obtained by WFLA shows Pasco County deputy Michael O’Donnell arriving at Miller’s property and calling out to him, followed by a revving of the mower’s engine. “I’ve had four people come out and tell me that they can’t take it anymore,” O’Donnell told Miller, who responded, “Whatever,” before turning on the mower again. Dwaine White, who lives across the street, told The Washington Post the mower isn’t even capable of cutting grass. “He’ll run that tractor all night, and it echoes all over the neighborhood,” White said. Miller was ultimately arrested for disturbing the peace and not complying with a law enforcement officer’s command. If convicted, he could spend 18 months in jail and pay a $1,500 fine.
Downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a little safer these days, thanks to the efforts of Night Watch, a helpful vigilante dressed in all black, with his face partially covered and wearing reflective goggles, WGHP reported on Jan. 22. “I’m not looking to be a Batman and go around beating up criminals,” he told a reporter. Instead, he’s an anonymous superhero who’s been patrolling the nighttime streets for about a month, hauling around a bag filled with food, clothing and toiletries for those in need. “There is no prerequisite for being a good person,” Night Watch said. On that night, he helped out about a dozen homeless people in the community. “It’s just nice that people aren’t totally freaked out,” he said. “Now they know who I am and that I’m trying to help.”