Richard Baird from New Jersey could be facing jail time after he allegedly shot and killed squirrels that he said were invading his home — and then hung them on a fence.

Linden Police said that Baird is charged with a single count of animal cruelty. He could face up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail, according to Det. Lt. James Sarnicki.

Baird told police he was having a problem with squirrels getting into his house through a hole. He said he tried to patch the hole with metal but the rodents kept sneaking back inside.

Det. Lt. Sarnicki said Baird decided to set a trap – slathering peanut butter on a tree in his backyard to lure the rodents. Then, he opened fire on the unsuspecting squirrels with a BB gun.

“He was taking them out on by one,” Sarnicki said. “He was frustrated that he couldn’t keep the squirrels out of his house and he took matters into his own hands.”

Sarnicki said they found as many as ten dead squirrels, including at least a half dozen carcasses that Baird hung from a backyard fence.

He said it was unclear why the homeowner decided to hang the animals.

“My theory is maybe he wanted the dead bodies to send a message to other squirrels not to trespass on his property,” Sarnicki told Fox News Radio. “That’s my theory.”

Police said they consulted with the county prosecutor to see if the squirrel massacre qualified as a felony offense. Under the law, Baird could have been charged with up to ten counts of animal cruelty — and in Linden it is against the law to shoot squirrels.

“We don’t want to see him be severely punished, yet we do want to send a message that there are other ways to handle animals that come on your property,” Sarnicki said.

Linden Mayor Richard Gerbounka told Fox News Radio that it’s an interesting and unique case.

“I’ve never experienced somebody in the city being charged for shooting squirrels,” he said. “But then again, nobody hung them up on their fence like trophies.”

Gerbounka said the message for city residents is “you shouldn’t take matters into your own hands.”

He said the city has animal control officers to take care of squirrel issues and said it’s important for residents to use the appropriate agency to solve their problems.

“They are critters and they want to live just like everyone else,” he said, referring to the squirrels.


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Police in England were involved in a 19-hour stand-off with a householder who had armed himself … with a bottle of household cleaning fluid.

At least 100 officers surrounded Richard Jablonski’s home in Weston Coyney, Staffordshire, last January after someone called police to say he had a gun.

Following the siege Mr Jablonski was arrested and charged with possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

But the case was dropped at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court yesterday after it was accepted the 38-year-old was actually holding a bottle of the Cillit Bang cleaning product during the incident.

Staffordshire Police have always refused to reveal the cost of the Aster Close siege, despite coming under pressure from their own police authority members.

Paul Spratt, prosecuting, told the court: “When officers got to the address the defendant was alleged to have produced a gun, before retiring into the property and holding them at bay. The defendant asserted what he was holding was a bottle of Cillit Bang. There is an unresolvable conflict between the evidence from the police and the evidence of the defendant. Therefore the prosecution offers no evidence in this case.”

Judge Paul Glenn returned a not guilty verdict.

Mr Jablonski had been due to stand trial early next month. Armed police cordoned off part of the Weston Heights estate and a section of the A520 Leek Road as they tried to coax Mr Jablonski out of the house during the siege on January 6.

After the incident, officers recovered a BB gun from Mr Jablonski’s kitchen, although it is now accepted he was not holding the firearm during the siege.

Staffordshire Police have defended the Aster Close operation.

In a joint statement with Staffordshire Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the force said: “The CPS, after consulting with Staffordshire Police, has decided to offer no evidence, for legal and evidential reasons. For the duration of the incident the police response was overseen by highly-trained and skilled officers who managed the situation in a measured manner and ultimately brought it to a safe and peaceful conclusion.”

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A suspect tried to escape police custody Monday after his hearing at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

A spokesperson with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said first and foremost no one’s security was ever at risk and Monday’s attempted escape is an example of how courtroom security works.

The inmate had already been in court for his hearing when he attacked a deputy.

The man was placed in a holding cell after his hearing and when they tried to get another inmate out of the same cell, police said he charged the door and pushed the deputy back as he was trying to escape.

The inmate and the deputy then stumbled into a courtroom. The inmate made it about 20 ft. before he was tackled and deputies took control.

Police have not released the inmates name or his original charges, but did say he is now charged with attempted escape and assault.

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Boys from Century Middle School in Lakeville, Minnesota snapped photos of girls’ butts and forwarded them to their classmates.

The game then moved to the locker room, where two girls were unknowingly photographed while partially undressed and the images spread rapidly from cellphone to cellphone. It came to an end Tuesday with criminal charges against four teenagers.

“It started out as a game and quickly and unfortunately crossed a significant invasion-of-privacy line,” said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. “This isn’t funny. It’s not a game to be doing this sort of activity, and it needs to stop.”

He outlined the May incidents on Tuesday when he announced charges against a 14-year-old boy, a 13-year-old boy and two 14-year-old girls.

The gross-misdemeanor charges include conspiracy to commit interference with privacy, interference with privacy and criminal defamation.

The court system keeps the teens’ names private because they are juveniles. Prosecutors will not seek detention for the teens, but instead ask that they perform community service and write letters apologizing to victims, Backstrom said.

“I want them to learn a lesson, but I don’t want them left with a permanent record that’s going to be harmful to them,” Backstrom said. “I’m not sure they even realize it was a crime to do what they did.”

Investigators believe more than 40 students saw the photos and video taken in the Century locker room. Backstrom said the four teens charged were the ones most directly involved in distributing the images.

The news release from Backstrom’s office offered the following version of events:

The two boys began taking photos of girls’ buttocks in the hallway and then forwarding them to other students. Then, each boy paid $5 to one of the girls who was later charged, and one of them gave her a can of soda, to take the inappropriate photograph and a video in the locker room.

The second girl who was charged took one photograph at the urging of the other girl who was charged.

The images show the two girls’ lower bodies from the back, partially undressed.

After school officials learned of the incident, they suspended 16 students for violations of the school harassment policy, the district confirmed Tuesday.

In a statement, the district’s director of administrative services, Tony Massaros, said: “Lakeville Area Public Schools are committed to providing a safe and respectful learning environment for all students.”

Lakeville students can use cellphones at Century as part of approved class assignments, but must turn them over to staff if they are causing a disturbance. Student handbooks posted on the websites for Lakeville high schools prohibit harassment and sending or receiving pictures or videos of people who are partially or completely undressed.

Judy Keliher, chairwoman of the Lakeville school board, said the incident at Century “gives you pause to make sure that you have all the right pieces in place.”

“It’s just a good lesson learned, [a chance] for everybody to step back, for parents to have discussions with kids,” she said.

Jill Murphy, editorial director at Common Sense Media, a nonpartisan nonprofit that works with schools, parents and kids on topics related to media and digital literacy, said an incident like the one at Century can be a very effective way to teach kids about the correct ways to use technology.

“Honestly, examples make things real,” Murphy said. “The stakes are a lot higher.”


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35-year-old Danielle Harkins convinced the Florida teens that they needed to rid their bodies of demons as the group gathered before dusk Saturday around a small fire near the St. Petersburg Pier.

She told them that they should cut their skin to let the evil spirits out, then, they needed to burn the wounds to ensure that those spirits would not return.

Some kids got cut, police said. Some kids got burned. Harkins got arrested.

Harkins, a literacy teacher at Lealman and Asian Neighborhood Family Center, was booked in jail Tuesday morning on child abuse charges in connection with the bizarre ritual. She was held in jail Tuesday night on $55,000 bail.

The ritual was attended by seven teenagers, all of Asian ethnic background, whom Harkins had taught a few years ago in her job at the center. At least two were injured, police said.

“Obviously, it’s very strange,” said St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz. “The motivations for the ritual are very unknown to us.”

None of the teens told their parents about the incident. Police investigated after one of the teens, a 16-year-old boy, sent a text message about the incident to a friend. The friend told the boy’s parents, who notified police.

In interviews with detectives, the teens were reluctant to talk about the ritual beyond the basic facts of what happened. They did reveal a few things.

When Harkins held a lighter to one teen’s hand, wind blew the flame out, police said. That prompted her to douse his hand in perfume before setting it on fire. The boy suffered second-degree burns, police said.

Another teen was cut on the neck with a broken bottle, police said. Harkins used a flame to heat a small key, which she then used to cauterize the wound.

Steven Chanthalima, 17, one of the teens who attended the gathering, declined Tuesday evening to discuss what happened.

“I’m okay,” he said. “I’m fine. All I know is she’s in custody.”

Harkins was suspended without pay from her job at the family center, where she has worked for about 41/2 years, said Carolyn Chance, the center’s administrator.

“We had no suspicion of any of this,” Chance said. “We do everything we can to know our employees.”

None of the teens was currently taking part in any of the center’s programs, Chance said. As a literacy specialist, Harkins taught reading and writing skills to the center’s clients.

Though the motives behind the ritual remain unclear, court records and those who know Harkins offer a few clues.

Harkins recently divorced her husband, George. They had two children, a 4-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son.

Records show that Harkins was the defendant in a sexual violence injunction that was dismissed in January. In August, she filed a domestic violence injunction against her husband, which was also dismissed.

The divorce was finalized June 1. About a month before, Harkins began acting strangely.

Lisa Cope, Harkins’ next-door neighbor for the past four years, said the last time she saw her, Harkins had taken an interest in extreme religious beliefs.

“She was my friend,” Cope said. “She cried on my shoulder when she and her husband were getting a divorce.”

Cope didn’t know what to make of her neighbor’s newfound religious interest.

“She told me I was okay,” Cope said. “She said I didn’t have any demons.”

In the past few days, Harkins disappeared. Cope picked up her mail. She phoned George Harkins and learned that the couple’s children were fine. On Tuesday, she saw the story on the news.

“I don’t know where she got the whole demon idea,” she said. “Who knows what makes people think those things?”


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A teacher in Montreal, Canada, has been suspended after he made his 10th-grade class watch the horrific video that allegedly shows Luka Magnotta murdering, eating and dismembering his lover.

School officials condemned the popular young instructor’s decision to air the footage in his civics and history class.

They have provided psychological counseling for the 25 students who saw the disturbing images.

The video of Jun Lin’s death, called ’1 Lunatic, 1 Icepick,’ has circulated on underworld gore websites since Magnotta allegedly released it online last month.

It’s unclear what educational purpose the teacher, whose name was not released, thought he could bring to his classroom at Cavelier-De LaSalle High School by showing the clip.

School officials are furious with his decision.

‘We condemn with one voice the actions of the teacher who showed students a video whose content was as inappropriate as it was offensive,’ the school board said in a statement to the Toronto Star.

The news of the teacher’s actions even reached Canadian Education Minister Michelle Courchesne, who condemned the instructor.

‘It’s horrifying. It’s a very, very serious and total lack of judgment. I don’t see any educational value in that (video).’

The teacher apparently aired the video after some students in the class convinced him to show it.

He gave them a choice about whether the wanted to watch the killing.They voted 22-to-3 to see it.

However, the three students who expressed concern about the video had to stay in the class while it was put on screen.

Before the teacher played the clip, he warned the class: ‘He said, “Watch out, for sure there are images that could be shocking,”‘ student Maude Aubin-Boivin, 17, who was in the room at the time, told the Star.

She said her classmates found the video disturbing, but didn’t receive any long term damage from watching it.

‘For sure, at the beginning I found it tough. But I wasn’t traumatized or anything. We see so much these days on TV,’ she said.


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Two 15-year-old girls have been arrested and Ottowa police are hunting for a 17-year-old girl accused of forcing other teens into prostitution.

Police said that they were laying charges of human trafficking, procuring, forcible confinement and sexual assault after a number of teen girls, between the ages of 13 and 17 were lured to a residence in late May and early June only to be abducted and delivered up to adult clients.

The most astounding aspect of the case is that the three chief suspects are all teen girls themselves.

The two 15-year-olds face almost a dozen charges. The third suspect is the wanted 17-year-old.

Staff Sgt. John McGetrick said police believe the trio were not acting on behalf of an adult organizer, but committed the alleged crimes on their own initiative.

“It’s shocking, quite frankly,” McGetrick said. “We asked the RCMP, who take the lead on human-trafficking, and they didn’t know of any similar case in Canada.”

The Ottawa Police Sexual Assault/Child Abuse Section investigated three incidents in late May and early June in which individual female victims were asked to meet at the Walkley Road residence “for social reasons” before being driven to other parts of Ottawa and forced into sex acts.

Investigators found connections between the three incidents, McGetrick said, and quickly identified the three suspects.

The two minors now in custody were arrested on June 8 and June 9 and face almost a dozen charges each, which also include abduction and robbery, assault and uttering threats.

One of the accused is further charged with administering a noxious substance.

They can’t be named because of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, but McGetrick said the department may apply to release more information in the future.

Regardless of their age, he said, they would be brought to justice.

“The actions that lead to the offence are the same whether you’re 12 or 60,” McGetrick said. “It’s still an offence, and they still need to be held accountable.”

Charges against the johns may follow, McGetrick said, but the investigation has not yet reached that point.

Natasha Albert has been living in the 2400 Block of Walkley Road for the past 19 years. Albert had initially assumed one of the accused minors was in trouble with the police because of a petty crime.

She was shocked to hear the arrest had to do with an alleged prostitution ring — one based out of her neighbourhood.

“This is insane,” said Albert. “I cannot believe that such young girls would be the ones responsible for something like this.”

She said she did not know the girls well, but had seen them in the neighbourhood before. She was extremely surprised by the idea that they might be capable of the alleged crimes.


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68-year-old John Philip “Phil” Oldham from New York, who investigators say exposed himself to little girls at a Walt Disney World swimming pool, was arrested Monday.

A 7-year-old and a 9-year-old told an Orange County deputy that a man with white hair wearing red, white and blue swim trunks exposed himself to them in the pool at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

The 9-year-old told an investigator she was in the pool about 1:30 p.m. Monday when she almost swam into a man later identified as Oldham.

She said the man had his trunks pulled up to his waist on one side and something that looked like a “dog chew toy” was hanging out, according to the report. The girl said she thought it was “disgusting” and told her parents.

At the same time, the 7-year-old told her family that she saw a man with his “private” out of his swim shorts, the report states. The girl told the investigator she swam away, but the man followed her and she got scared, according to the report.

Police said that one parent watched Oldham for a while and noticed he would float around until he found other children with goggles.

The parents called the police, and after a brief investigation Oldham was arrested.

Oldham was arrested on two counts of lewd or lascivious exhibition. He was in the process of being released from the Orange County Jail late Tuesday on $3,500 bail.

Public records show Oldham runs TargetVision Entertainment, an independent TV program distributor/media production company. An article in TV Week described him as a sales, marketing and consulting veteran with four decades of experience.

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Man blamed dog for apartment arson

On June 14, 2012, in Animals & Plants, Arson, by djeyli

A man from western Pennsylvania who blamed his dog for causing an apartment fire has been jailed on charges that he set the blaze himself.

Cresson Township police have charged 58-year-old John Saparo with setting the July 12 fire. Police have yet to specify how.

Police did say that they’ve determined that the fire didn’t start the way Saparo claimed.

He allegedly told officers he was cleaning and had several fans running when his dog knocked over one of the fans, which, somehow, started the fire.

Saparo remains in the Cambria County Jail awaiting a preliminary hearing June 20 on arson and related charges.

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A Texas couple made global headlines back in 2011 after their property was searched for a “mass grave” that was later debunked as nothing more than a bad tip from an alleged psychic.

Joe Bankson and Gena Charlton have now filed a lawsuit against the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and several media organizations.

“Not a single body was found buried in the backyard,” attorney Andrew B. Sommerman told The Dayton News. “This all started with a psychic who gave them (the sheriff’s office) a tip — a bad psychic who had given the sheriff’s office tips in the past that were wrong.”

Along with the sheriff’s office, Sommerman says the couple is filing suits alleging false statements against several media organizations, including KPRC, Belo Corp. The New York Times, CNN America, Thompson Reuters and ABC News.

In their lawsuit, the couple alleges that the search resulted in “mental anguish,” financial loss and “substantial damages” to their reputations.

When asked what the couple hopes to achieve, Sommerman said, “A little dignity. Vindication … At least now everyone will know the truth.”

In June 2011, local officials, the FBI and several national media organizations descended on the property as reports began to circulate that 25-30 bodies were buried on the grounds. After a search that Sommerman says left extensive damage to the property, police were forced to admit that their only “evidence” had come in the form of a tip from a 48-year-old grandmother, and self-described psychic, going by the name of “Angel.”

In their lawsuit, which was filed last week in the 193rd Judicial District in Dallas, Bankson and Charlton claim they have been unable to return to their rented home because, “everyone looks at them askance because of the accusations made against them.”

The couple also alleges that the sheriff’s office failed to secure their property after what they call an “unreasonable search.”

“This situation was handled okay on our end. It checked out for us,” Liberty County Sheriff Henry Patterson told the Dayton News. “I am not worried about our part of it. Everyone (the media) at that location was told that nothing was going on and we couldn’t stop what happened.”

The couple is also reportedly trying to sue “Angel,” who is listed as a Jane Doe in the lawsuit, but they have as yet been unable to obtain her legal name.

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