News of the Weird June 20 2007

Pet care, six on the way and a whack to the left testicle

High-Tech Pet Care: The Japanese company Medical Life Care Giken said it will begin marketing, later this year, a device that measures pets' stress levels. The tiny patch on the bottom of a dog's or cat's paw changes color depending on the amount of sweat secreted, according to the researchers at Toyama University who developed it. And in March, New York's Long Island Veterinary Specialists performed complicated hip-replacement surgery on a 1-year-old shorthaired cat, using a material about the width of a wooden matchstick. Oreo was discovered wedged in the crawl space of a house. (Dogs receive hip replacements almost routinely now, but cats were thought to be too small.)

Compelling Explanations: Local music producer Ricky Lackey, during questioning in March by a judge in Cincinnati to help her determine an appropriate sentence for Lackey for his crime of attempted theft, told her that he has no children but that he has "six on the way." The judge sought clarification. "Are you marrying a woman with six children?" "No," said Lackey, "I be concubining." All six women are due during August, September or October. Lackey, who had recently paid restitution to his victim, was released without additional sentence.

Ironies: 1) So many U.S. executives want to visit India to make deals to outsource their companies' jobs that in March, India's Washington, D.C., embassy said it was forced to outsource the job of processing the executives' visa applications. 2) Yet another U.S. job was outsourced to India in May, that of "local government reporter" covering city hall politicians in Pasadena, Calif. The publisher of the website PasadenaNow.com said the local beat could be handled very well from India, through telephone interviews and by watching live city council telecasts on the Internet.

The Litigious Society: In lawsuit-friendly Madison County, Ill. (termed "the promised land" by some trial lawyers), a judge awarded $311,700 to Amanda Verett for a long series of painful injuries that her courtroom-veteran chiropractor has been treating. Verett said she was holding a door open at a Pizza Hut when an employee yanked it open farther, and calamitous shoulder, arm and hand injuries resulted.

The Continuing Crisis: At least five convicted sex offenders in Florida's Miami-Dade County have their official residence in a makeshift encampment underneath a bridge on the Julia Tuttle Causeway to Miami Beach, with the blessing of the state Department of Corrections, according to an April report by CNN. Officials say the state's tough zoning law for sex offenders bars the offenders from most neighborhoods in the county because they are too close to where children congregate (and some sex offenders maintain regular homes even though they can't live in them because of the zoning law). The causeway camp, officials say, at least keeps the men visible to probation officers.

Oops!: Try to Read This Without Wincing: A cable broke on a leg-extension machine at a YWCA facility in Akron, Ohio, in 2004, catapulting a steel bar forcefully at a 22-year-old football player working out for a shot at a college scholarship, hitting him squarely between his parted legs, whacking his left testicle. Three years later, he still walks gingerly and bow-legged because the slightest contact is painful (although he did manage to father a child in the interim). In April 2007, a jury awarded him $786,000 after hearing that the machine had been in disrepair.

Fetishes on Parade: In January, Ronald Dotson, 39, pleaded no contest to attempting to break into a Ferndale, Mich., store in order to steal a mannequin outfitted in a French maid's uniform, which authorities said was his seventh "statuephilia"-related offense in 13 years. "I thought I was getting my life together," he told the judge, even though his arrest came only days after he was paroled for the sixth offense. One of the previous arrests involved an apparently irresistible "woman" in a pink dress and bobbed hair, and in another, he was found in an alley with three lingerie-clad beauties.

Update: In November, News of the Weird reported the arrest of Michael McPhail of Spanaway, Wash., who was charged with bestiality under the state's brand-new law, having allegedly been caught by his wife having sex with the family dog. In May 2007, a jury in Tacoma, Wash., found McPhail not guilty.