Odd news for Thursday

WINONA, Minn. " A pet pig whose weight tripled while it was in the care of a sitter has been placed on a diet " and an animal cruelty charge has been filed against the caretaker.

The 5-year-old animal, Alaina Templeton, part potbellied pig, has lost 10 percent of her 150 pounds and is recovering well from surgery to remove a collar that had become embedded in her overly fat neck, owner Michelle Schmitz said.

Alaina made headlines last week after Schmitz complained that the pet sitter had allowed Alaina to go from her normal 50 pounds to 150 pounds in just nine months. Schmitz had left Alaina with the sitter, a co-worker, while she was on medical leave to recover from ankle surgery.

Alaina apparently had been foraging for cat food and chicken feed outdoors at the co-worker's farm.

Schmitz said now that her pet is back home, the excess pounds will "melt off" with a healthy diet and exercise. She said she and Alaina's veterinarian consider 50 pounds a more suitable weight for the mixed-breed pig.

A misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty has been filed against Mary Beesecker, 52, of Houston, Minn., Winona County Sheriff David Brand said.

"I want her to be held responsible for what she did and what she didn't do," Schmitz said.

Beesecker did not immediately respond to a call from The Associated Press seeking comment Tuesday, and she has refused requests from The Winona Daily News for an interview.

AUBURN, Maine " Auburn Mayor John Jenkins is getting another term in office even though he wasn't on the ballot.

Jenkins made history Tuesday by becoming the first person in Auburn to win a citywide election as a write-in candidate.

Jenkins says he decided not to run for another term because the post was taking too much time from his day job. But he won the three-way race with 2,166 votes, followed by 1,305 for Eric Samson and 514 for Fred Sanborn.

Sanborn says he questions the legality of the vote. As for Jenkins, he has relented to pressure and plans to serve.

SAN MARCOS, Texas " The results are in: The ugly, big-eared animal found this summer in southern Texas is not the mythical, bloodsucking chupacabra. It's just a plain old coyote.

Biologists at Texas State University announced Thursday night they had identified the hairless doglike creature.

KENS-TV of San Antonio provided a tissue sample from the animal for testing.

"The DNA sequence is a virtually identical match to DNA from the coyote," biologist Mike Forstner said in a statement.

"This is probably the answer a lot of folks thought might be the outcome. I, myself, really thought it was a domestic dog, but the Cuero Chupacabra is a Texas Coyote."

Phylis Canion and some of her neighbors discovered the 40-pound bodies of three of the animals over four days in July outside her ranch in Cuero, 90 miles southeast of San Antonio.

Canion said she saved the head of the one she found so she could get to the bottom of its ancestry through DNA testing and then mount it for posterity.

Chupacabra means "goat sucker" in Spanish, and it is said to have originated in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Additional skin samples have been taken to try to determine the cause of the animal's hair loss, Forstner said.

CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. " Thou shalt not use a church's telephone to call a sex hot line, saith police in this Hudson Valley town.

A homeless man has been accused of breaking into a Valley Cottage church by picking a lock so he could dial a sex line.

James Macnair was arraigned Monday night before Clarkstown Justice Scott Ugell on charges of burglary, possession of a burglar's tools and petty larceny. He admitted he had sinned before, breaking into the Elim Alliance Church days earlier for the same reason, the judge said.

A church treasurer found Macnair on the phone both times, police said. The first time, when he was in an office, she told him to leave, but the second time, when he was in a basement area used as a nursery for children, she called 911, they said.

Macnair, 35, was being held without bail Tuesday at the Rockland County jail and was due in court Wednesday. A desk officer at the jail said it wasn't possible to put Macnair on the phone to speak to a reporter.


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