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NEWS OF THE WEIRD: Week of April 14, 2020


Authorities executed a search warrant relating to a narcotics investigation in the South Texas town of Mercedes on March 25, but what they seized wasn’t drugs. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Sammy Parks told the Associated Press that officers had been warned there were exotic animals on the 5-acre property, and game wardens who joined the search found a white Bengal tiger, bobcat, kinkajou, porcupines, llamas, emus and deer. While no arrests were made, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department had to euthanize three of the animals; the remainder were removed to the Austin Zoo for examination and rehabilitation. [Associated Press, 4/3/2020]


—Amy Simonson and Dan Stuglik proceeded with their planned wedding on April 4 in Pokagon, Michigan, but the coronavirus pandemic forced them to get creative. While the original guest list of 150 people had to be pared down repeatedly as restrictions were placed on public gatherings, Stuglik was determined that his bride not walk down the aisle between empty pews in the Old Rugged Cross Church. He hit upon the idea of filling the church with cardboard cutouts of family and friends and stopped by Menasha Packaging Co. to ask for help. Employees Ted Harris and Luke Arendash jumped at the chance. “(Stuglik) was just looking for a general person shape, but I was able to make it a little bit more realistic audience for them,” Harris told The Herald Palladium. The company supplied more than 100 cutouts of varying sizes, shapes and hairstyles. The newlyweds moved their reception to October and canceled their honeymoon in Newport, Rhode Island, but Stuglik said they “both have peace now, because it’s stripped down to what it should be, which is us and God, getting married.” [Herald Palladium, 4/1/2020]


Alberto Tito Alejandro, 51, was arrested following a high-speed chase after Washington state troopers received multiple calls on March 29 about a car hitting two other vehicles south of Seattle and then racing away at speeds up to 100 mph, AFP reported. Trooper Heather Axtman said when officers got close to the 1996 Buick, they were shocked to see a dog sitting in the driver’s seat. Alejandro was steering and pushing the gas pedal from the passenger seat. “When we took him into custody,” Axtman said, “he admitted to our troopers that he was teaching his dog to drive. … I’ve heard a lot of excuses … but I’ve never had an excuse that the dog was driving.” Alejandro was charged on multiple counts, including driving under the influence of drugs. [AFP, 3/30/2020]

—Our four-legged friends are taking advantage of the COVID-19 lockdown in multiple cities, United Press International reported: On March 31, 122 Kashmiri goats took over the Welsh town of Llandudno, eating gardens and sleeping in the yards; on April 6, residents of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, reported a large herd of deer casually wandering through neighborhoods; in Gir, Gujarat, India, citizens were warned on April 5 to stay inside not only because of the pandemic but because a large lion was nosing around the city; at a Fast Stop store in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, a bear took the low-traffic opportunity to dumpster dive on April 3; and in the Central Region of Singapore, witnesses captured video of a horse galloping through the empty streets of Bukit Timah on April 6. She had escaped from the Paisano Polo Academy, where the owner said she’d only been loose for about 20 minutes. [United Press International, various]


Police on horseback and motorcycles in Hyderabad, India, are reminding civilians about the dangers of COVID-19 by wearing large red masks and headdresses in the shape of the virus as they patrol. Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar said the masked officers would be stationed at various city junctions, Fox News reported. Ironically, the city organized a rally on April 7 to kick off the awareness campaign, displaying signs reading “Please Avoid Gathering” and “Social Distancing Is Social Responsibility.” [Fox News, 4/7/2020]

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