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  |   Jan. 28, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Virginia teen buys pet zebra

ROANOKE, Va., Jan. 28 (UPI) -- A young Virginia woman says she was inspired by the film "Racing Stripes" to buy a pet zebra.

Shea Inman, 18, bought her zebra, which she named Joey, about three years ago from a farm in Texas after seeing the sports comedy film, The Roanoke (Va.) Times reported.

"After seeing the movie 'Racing Stripes,' and the phenomenon of riding a zebra, it absolutely inspired me," said Shea, who lives in Franklin County. "So, I thought to myself, are zebras even possible to own? I looked it up on Google, checked my funds, and it turned out I could afford one. So, I talked to my mother and I convinced her to let me give it a go. So we did."

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries considers zebras horses, so there is no special documentation or permit is required to keep them, the news report said.

Shea has been riding horses since she was 8 years old and is well known in her community for buying, selling and training horses.

"Shea started buying rescue horses. She was kind of a horse whisperer. She could bond with horses that would run away from other people," said Shea's mother, Carolyn "Bunny" Inman.

"She wanted more of a challenge," Inman continued. "After seeing the movie 'Racing Stripes' and doing all her research and talking to the people in Texas about their zebras, I agreed we'd get one."

Shea said breaking, or training, Joey has been more difficult for her than with any other horse, the newspaper said.

"Some days it's like he's been riding for 30 years and other days he acts like he's never seen a human being," she said. "In that sense, it makes it really difficult to work with him. You have to know him really well and read him very well. It's made me a lot more intuitive. We've run into some challenges together."


Swedish woman, 80, takes home wrong car

OLOFSTROM, Sweden, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- A Swedish octogenarian accidentally drove the wrong car home from the grocery store, officials said.

The woman got into what she thought was her car and, finding the keys in the ignition, simply drove home, police said. It wasn't until the woman's daughter questioned where a bag that had been in the car came from that the mix up was reported.

The daughter said the car parked in her mother's garage bore no resemblance to her mother's actual car and called police. The owner of the car had already reported it stolen, though they admitted to leaving the keys inside, TheLocal.se said Friday.

Police said the car was returned and no charges are being filed.


Crowd pushes police over flower seller

ROME, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Police in Rome were pushed back by residents when they tried to crack down on a well-known local flower vendor, city officials said.

Police said the man had a ambulatory license to sell flowers but he'd become "too stationary." When they tried to take down the man's stand and confiscate his plants Friday, residents became irate, shouted insults and blocked traffic, ANSA news agency said.

The crowd at one point was more than 100 strong.

"The citizens were right," Municipal councilor Marco Giudici said. "The municipal police use two measures and two standards. Though there are real problems [with unlicensed vendors] they take it out on the desperate and defenseless to simply take care of their administrative needs."


Mounties advise leaving 'gunbrellas' home

RICHMOND, British Columbia, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Canadian police urged the public to think twice about walking around on rainy days carrying an umbrella made to look like a rifle.

The harmless but alarming umbrella brought police to a bus stop in Richmond, B.C., after commuters saw a man who appeared to have a genuine rifle over his shoulder.

There were some tense moments as the mistake was sorted out, and police said things could have ended tragically had the man made a sudden move, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

"If it appeared that he was actually shouldering the rifle — if our officers believed he was about to fire — I mean, our officers would have no choice," said Richmond RCMP Sgt. Sherrdean Turley.

CBC News said the store where the so-called gunbrella was sold decided to discontinue the line.

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