It’s been a while since we presented our weekly collection of odd news from around the country, and so here are the Associated Press’ latest strange headlines, which include a dog that shot his owner; an Iowa woman who paid off $1,640 worth of strangers’ unpaid water bills; wildlife commissioner in trouble for illegally salvaging road kill; and several others. Enjoy!
• Salt Lake City, Utah: A Utah bird hunter was shot in the buttocks after his dog stepped on a shotgun laid across the bow of a boat. Box Elder County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Potter says the 46-year-old Brigham City man was duck hunting with a friend when he climbed out of the boat to move decoys. Potter says the man left his 12-gauge shotgun in the boat and the dog stepped on it, causing it to fire. It wasn’t clear whether the safety on the gun was on at the time. Potter says the man was hit from about 10 feet away with 27 pellets of birdshot. He says the man wasn’t seriously injured, in part because he was wearing waders. The man was treated at a nearby hospital.
• Helena, Mont. — The head of the commission responsible for setting Montana’s hunting regulations has found himself at the receiving end of one of the warnings his agency issues for illegally salvaging road kill. The Independent Record reported Tuesday that Bob Ream of the state Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission got the warning after he tagged a deer struck by his car on Nov. 12. The commission chairman says most of the carcass was salvageable, so he took it for processing. He says he didn’t realize that was illegal until he mentioned it to a game warden. Wildlife officials say statutes limit hunting to firearms and archery during times and do not specify scenarios in which game might be taken illegally. Ream says he may seek to clarify the regulations. The warning required him to donate the meat to a food bank.
• Iowa City, Iowa — More than a dozen families in Iowa City received an unexpected Thanksgiving gift from an anonymous local woman: running water. Iowa City officials say a woman walked into City Hall on Nov. 22 and donated $1,640 to pay off 17 local water utility accounts to ensure they had running water for the Thanksgiving holiday. Iowa City Revenue and Risk Manager Melissa Miller says the generosity shocked city officials, who then worked with the woman to identify accounts with overdue balances that she could pay off. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that 11 of the accounts had their water shut off on Nov. 22 due to unpaid balances, and six more were scheduled to be shut off within hours. Their water was turned back on shortly after the payment.
• Los Lunas, N.M. — The 160 inmates at New Mexico’s Valencia County Detention Center were told to get in their cells and remain there. A lockdown order that began Monday wasn’t over a gun, or a hostage situation or an escape. It was all because of a burrito. KOAT-TV reports a guard smuggled in a tortilla wrapped surprise for an inmate and the prisoner was caught in the act of chowing down. Warden Joe Chavez says in 20 plus years, it’s the first time the facility has been locked down over a burrito. Prison authorities even speculated whether the guard and inmate were experimenting with attempting to use a burrito to smuggle in contraband, but nothing much was found except the usual stuff found in a burrito. The lockdown was expected to be lifted Wednesday. The guard has since been fired.
• Topeka, Kan. — Can there be no trust between a kidnapper and his hostages? A man who held a Kansas couple hostage in their home while fleeing from authorities is suing them, claiming they broke an oral contract made when he promised them money in exchange for hiding him from police. Jesse Dimmick of Colorado is serving an 11-year sentence after bursting into Jared and Lindsay Rowley’s Topeka-area home in 2009. The couple escaped unharmed after Dimmick fell asleep. The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Dimmick filed a breach of contract suit in Shawnee County District Court, contending that he and the Rowleys reached a legally binding oral contract that they would hide him in exchange for an unspecified amount of money. The couple has asked a judge to dismiss the suit.
• Lubbock, Texas — Fire officials say a Texas man who had to be rescued from the chimney of his house wasn’t trying to be Santa Claus. He was just locked out of his house. Fire officials say they had to hoist the 22-year-old man by rope from the chimney of his house in southwest Lubbock early Monday. Deputy Fire Marshal Robert Loveless tells the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that the man and his family were locked out of their house. Loveless says the man, wanting to save the price of a locksmith, decided to enter the house through the chimney as his wife and child waited outside around 1 a.m. Monday. Loveless says the man’s wife called 911 after he became stuck. Firefighters hauled him out about an hour later. He was not injured.