September 9, 2008

Burglar Likes the Spice

n Mansfield, Mass.

An animal shelter worker spotted a solitary sheep last week grazing just feet from traffic on a wooded highway median near Mansfield.

How it got there is a mystery but police first received reports of the animal about a year ago at the junction of Interstates 495 and 95. A number of rescue efforts have failed because the animal is afraid of people, and authorities are wary of using tranquilizers because a drugged animal could wander onto the road.

North Attleboro shelter volunteer Linda Faber contacted a sanctuary in New York that offered some suggestions for catching the sheep. One idea is to set up a pen with another sheep to take advantage of the flock instinct.

"The longer that the sheep is there, the more likely he or she will be too wild to approach, and the most likely problem of course is that the sheep will be injured by a motorist," said Susie Coston, national shelter director for the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, N.Y.

Faber said she has three farms willing to take the sheep if it can be captured.

"A sheep doesn't belong in the middle of the highway," she said.

* Iowa City, Iowa

The University of Iowa has shucked its ban on an annual corn eating contest after removing the gluttony.

Phillip Jones, the school's vice president for student services, said many people asked what he had against corn - the state's hallmark crop - after he canceled the all-you-can-eat contest last year.

"I got a lot of complaints from around the state," he said. "'Why do you have something against corn?' It's not the corn; it's the concept."

The contest, part of a week's celebration leading up the annual football game against Iowa State, will be allowed this year - but students will compete to see who can eat a single ear of corn the fastest, not who can eat the most.

"They are doing it in a short and fun way and promoting the state's major product," Jones said.

* Fresno, Calif.

Authorities say they've arrested a man who broke into the home of two California farmworkers, stole money, rubbed one with spices and whacked the other with a sausage before fleeing.

Fresno County sheriff's Lt. Ian Burrimond says 22-year-old Antonio Vasquez was found hiding in a field wearing only a T-shirt, boxers and socks after the Saturday morning attack.

He says deputies arrested Vasquez after finding a wallet containing his ID in the ransacked house.

The farmworkers told deputies the man woke them Saturday morning by rubbing spices on one of them and smacking the other with an 8- inch sausage.

Burrimond says money allegedly stolen was recovered.

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