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Dispatches Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Moving violation

The suspect in an Arauca, Colombia, traffic accident may not have understood his rights, but he remained silent. That's because the suspect was a donkey named Pacho that police detained after he was involved in a March 8 accident with a motorcycle. Police spokeswoman Diana Rojas said authorities were merely following policy with the animal arrest: "When there are road accidents and serious injuries, the vehicles involved are always impounded."

Rough rider

Third-grader Saje Beard of rural North Dakota won't have to exaggerate when she someday tells her grandchildren about her difficult commute to school. Not only does it take her 30 minutes to get to the Manning School, about 15 miles south of Bismarck, but most days the 9-year-old makes the trip by herself on a mule named Ruth. "She's really nice and gentle," says Saje. "And she sure is smart." Her father Marty Beard said Saje is an old hand at riding mules, and he's confident that Ruth would protect Saje if anyone hassled her: "I feel more safe with her riding a mule than having her ride in a car or on a bus."

Attention getter

Alleged erratic driving may not have been all that drew police attention to Josiah Johnson as he drove away from a Moorhead, Minn., sports bar on March 11. The word on Mr. Johnson's vanity license plate was also suspicious: "TIPSY." Mr. Johnson, whose blood-alcohol level was allegedly twice the legal limit, says he's learned his lesson about driving while tipsy: "I feel really stupid."

Big gulp

The AFP news service reports that an 18-inch British dog somehow swallowed a 16-inch stick-and came away unharmed. Owner John Hurst reportedly had thrown the stick during a walk, and it had become stuck in the ground, when the dog, named Millie, went to fetch it. Sprinting toward the stick, the dog became impaled on it. The stick went into Millie's throat and became embedded deep into her stomach, but it didn't hit any vital organs, and veterinarians were able to remove it during a two-hour operation. Millie's only injury: a minor scratch inside her stomach.

Hard Knox

The Knox County (Tenn.) Public Library System is getting serious about overdue books and unpaid late fees. How serious? The system is hiring the collection agency, Unique Management Services Inc., to pursue 180 patrons with materials that are more than 45 days overdue. Library spokeswoman Mary Pom Claiborne insists that the collection agents will be polite. "It's not Guido the loan shark," she said. "We're not going to break your legs over this."

American idol

The Naylor family of St. Paul, Neb., paid $3.29 for a bag of pretzels last month. Twelve-year-old daughter Crysta thought one of the pretzels was shaped like an S. "I showed it to my mom and she told me it looked like Mary and the baby Jesus," said Crysta. "I looked at it again and I could see it really did look like that." The Naylors decided to auction the honey-mustard pretzel on eBay, and early this month it drew 56 bids. The winning bid: $10,600.