Quirky World ... Dog out of reach from the long arm of the law

England: Help was not just a phone call away for one Lancastrian woman who mistakenly phoned police on the other side of the Atlantic to complain about a dog outside her home.

The unnamed woman from Lancaster could face a hefty phone bill after Lancaster City Police in Pennsylvania in the United States received a call from a woman with a “strong English accent” reporting that the dog was on her porch and in her yard and that she needed assistance.

Knowing something was not quite right, the department’s Sgt Schaeffer, who took the call, asked the woman to confirm her address, and she replied “Lancashire, England” — seemingly unaware that the officer she was speaking to was nearly 5,000km away.

Toad with a code

Brazil: Communication in frogs is more complex and sophisticated than previously thought, a study of their behaviour found.

Squealing and arm-waving were just two of the ways the Brazilian torrent frogs, with “one of the most diverse visual and audio repertoires known to frogs” communicated, scientists said.

Researchers from Universidade Estadual Paulista in Brazil also discovered females demonstrated behaviour previously unknown to frogs, using a combination of visual displays and touch to stimulate the male’s courtship call.

Early birds

England: Eight ducklings have been rescued after they hatched four months early following the warmest December on record.

The eight ‘early birds’ were found at the roadside in Emsworth, Hampshire, last week and are believed to have been born on about January 4.

Their mother and three siblings had been killed by a car and the survivors were taken to Arthur Lodge Veterinary Surgery in Horsham.

They have been taken into the care of Tanya Knight, who works for the Born Free Foundation, who will look after them until the spring.

She said: “Normally you wouldn’t see ducklings until around April, but due to the unusually warm weather this little brood has hatched early.

“Depending on how cold it is outside, I’ll keep them indoors for a few weeks and then they’ll be moved to a duck pen outside where they will stay until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

The eight ducklings have been nicknamed Mike, Carol, Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby, and Cindy, after US TV sitcom family The Brady Bunch.

Didn’t see that coming

USA: The head of a southwestern Michigan mental health agency has learned his future: At least 32 months in prison for using public money to hire a fortuneteller.

Ervin Brinker was sentenced to two months after pleading guilty to embezzlement and Medicaid fraud conspiracy.

Brinker was CEO at Summit Pointe, a mental health organisation that serves people in five counties. He was accused of spending $510,000 on a palm reader and her husband and concealing it from others.

The attorney general’s office says Brinker will pay double that amount as restitution and a civil penalty.

Brinker will be eligible for parole after 32 months.

Selfie mug shot

USA: A man Ohio police say sent them a selfie because he didn’t like the mugshot they were using has been arrested in Florida.

Lima, Ohio, police say Donald “Chip” Pugh was arrested in Century, Florida, and is being held on another warrant out of Georgia.

Police in Ohio say Pugh also is wanted for failing to appear in court and is a person of interest in several other cases.

Lima police say Pugh sent them a picture of himself in a sport coat and sunglasses along with a message stating: “Here is a better photo, that one is terrible.”

The police department has posted on its Facebook page a new mugshot of a smiling Pugh after his arrest.

Imaginary defence

England: A fly-tipper accused of dumping 14 tyres in a lay-by tried to blame an imaginary twin brother, a council said.

Paul Henry, 52, of Harmston Rise, Nottingham, was seen ditching the tyres in February last year.

He was questioned by Gedling Borough Council wardens and claimed his identical twin brother was responsible, but was found guilty at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court last week.

Mayor on the run

USA: The sheriff of a small Virginia city said he and several police vehicles were forced to chase down the mayor over an expired vehicle-inspection sticker after he ignored requests to stop.

Portsmouth Sheriff Bill Watson said he noticed the car on Tuesday night, with a sticker that expired in June. He said that when he learned it was Mayor Kenny Wright’s car, he planned to issue a simple warning, but the mayor ignored his order to stop.

Wright was eventually pulled over. Sheriff Watson said he obtained a warrant on for a felony eluding charge against Wright. He said Wright must learn “no-one is above the law”.


Dr Sarah Miller is the CEO of Dublin’s Rediscovery Centre, the national centre for the Circular Economy in Ireland. She has a degree in Biotechnology and a PHD in Environmental Science in Waste Conversion Technologies.‘We have to give people positive messages’

When I was pregnant with Joan, I knew she was a girl. We didn’t find out the gender of the baby, but I just knew. Or else, I so badly wanted a girl, I convinced myself that is exactly what we were having.Mum's the Word: I have a confession: I never wanted sons. I wanted daughters

What is it about the teenage years that are so problematic for families? Why does the teenage soul rage against the machine of the adult world?Learning Points: It’s not about the phone, it’s about you and your teen

Judy Collins is 80, and still touring. As she gets ready to return to Ireland, she tells Ellie O’Byrne about the songs that have mattered most in her incredible 60-year career.The songs that matter most to Judy Collins from her 60-year career

More From The Irish Examiner