SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Wildlife experts in the San Francisco Bay Area say residents should watch out for skunks as they enter their mating season.
The skunks spray their foul odor more often around this time of year, and it can be smelled throughout the Bay Area, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
"Everybody is spraying everybody," said Kelle Kacmarcik, wild-animal solutions manager at WildCare rehabilitation hospital in San Rafael. "They are out there competing for females and competing for territory. The females spray the males when they don't want to mate. Then the males are competing, so they spray one another, and then, since they are so focused on breeding, they aren't paying attention to us and they get startled easily."
More dogs, cats and humans are sprayed by skunks in January and February than any other time of the year, said Kacmarcik, who has been sprayed in the face twice at the animal hospital.
"It is pretty horrible," she said. "It's very bad. You can't even imagine."
The stench, which is sprayed by skunks in an oily mixture out of two glands in their anuses, smells like a combination of garlic, rotten egg and burned rubber, the news report said.
Kacmarcik suggested people keep their cats and dogs inside or on a leash this time of year and try to be loud if they know they are in an area populated by skunks.
"If you know you have some on your property, make some noise when you go outside and let them know you are coming and they generally run away," she said. "They are very docile animals. You can't blame them for spraying every now and then. It is their only defense mechanism."
Topless activist bares chest after court
NEW YORK, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- A New York performance artist and activist for women's topless rights shed her shirt outside of the courthouse after having charges against her dismissed.
Holly Van Voast, 46, who was arrested for trespassing, disorderly conduct and pot possession after she went topless inside St. Patrick's Cathedral Jan. 30 of last year, had the charges dismissed Wednesday and took off her shirt upon exiting the courthouse, the New York Daily News reported Thursday.
Ron Kuby, Van Voast's lawyer, said the conditional dismissal also included two other shirtless arrests, one on the D train May 7 for occupying multiple seats and one June 7 on the L train for interfering with passenger movement, disorderly conduct and occupying multiple seats. The dismissal "covers all of Ms. Van Voast's outstanding busts," Kuby was quoted as saying.
Van Vost, who had a drawn-on black mustache during Wednesday's court appearance, said she kept her breasts covered inside the courtroom because she's "not an exhibitionist."
It is legal for women to go topless in New York City.
Clerk pulls sword on robber
NEW BEDFORD, Mass., Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Massachusetts police said a knife-wielding convenience store robber was foiled when the clerk drew a superior blade.
New Bedford police said the suspect entered the Lucky Seven Grocery store just before noon Tuesday and pointed a knife at the 24-year-old clerk, The Boston Globe reported Thursday.
The clerk responded by drawing a sword he kept behind the counter. The robber fled the store without any loot.
Chubby Checker suing HP over penis app
FORT PIERCE, Fla., Feb. 15 (UPI) -- A Florida lawsuit filed on behalf of Chubby Checker accuses Hewlett-Packard and subsidiary Palm Inc. of using the singer's name to sell a penis-estimating app.
Attorney Willie Gary filed the lawsuit Monday in a Fort Piece federal court alleging the company's Palm APP Catalog, which sells apps for Palm smartphones, sells an app called "The Chubby Checker" designed to estimate the size of a man's penis based on his shoe size, TCPalm.com reported Thursday.
The lawsuit says the 71-year-old singer, whose real name is Ernest Evans, has a trademark on the name "Chubby Checker" for use in his business interests.
"Defendants' use of the name 'Chubby Checker' in its app is likely to associate plaintiff's (trade) marks with the obscene, sexual connotation and images," the lawsuit states.
TCPalm did not have a comment from Hewlett-Packard or Palm Inc.