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Grieving parrot prescribed Prozac

SOMERSET, England, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- A Somerset, England, woman said her parrot has been put on the antidepressant Prozac because the death of her husband made the bird depressed.


Helen Dance said the death nine months ago of her husband, George, who had raised the parrot from a chick, took a heavy toll on Fred, an African Grey parrot, The Sun reported.

Dance said experts told her the parrot seemed to be suffering from a deep depression because it could not understand George Dance's sudden absence. The widow said Fred had bitten off all of its neck feathers and spent most of the day bobbing its head up and down.

"He has been in quite a state since my husband died. Fred was very close to George and became depressed," Dance said.

However, she said the bird seems to be coming out of its inner darkness now that it's on a twice-daily regimen of Clomical, a liquid form of Prozac designed for birds.


Lost cockatiel spoke to owners on phone

GWERSYLLT, Wales, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- A Gwersyllt, Wales, woman who found a missing cockatiel said the bird uttered its first words in her care when she put it on the phone with its owners.

Sue Hill said the cockatiel perched on her shoulder in Bellevue Park and she immediately contacted the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals, which informed her that a bird had been reported missing from David Edwards' home 2 miles from the park, The Daily Telegraph reported.

"I was given a phone number for the man, Mr. Edwards, but I wanted to be sure he was the actual owner," Hill said. "I called and spoke to his wife who told me her pet was called Smokey and asked me to put him on the phone. As soon as he heard her voice, he stopped chirping and began saying 'Smokey,' it was very funny. That was the first time the bird had spoken and it was then I was sure that he belonged to them."

David Edwards told The Daily Telegraph he was "over the moon" to have his pet back at home after it went missing during the weekend.


Students, prisoners face off in chess

TRENTON, N.J., Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The seventh chess tournament between Princeton University and the New Jersey State Prison saw a surprising amount of prisoner victories, participants said.

The "Inmates and Ivy" chess tournament brought six Princeton students to the prison in Trenton to test their chess skills against a collection of convicted felons and thieves, The (Newark) New Jersey Star-Ledger reported.

The Princeton students, who played several simultaneous games against groups of prisoners, said the event usually ends with the school nearly sweeping every game, with an occasional single prisoner victory during the tournament. However, this year's competition saw victories by prisoners Malvern Lewis, 43, who was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend by stabbing; Carl Gooding, who was convicted of killing a man during a drug deal in 1987; and Alonzo Hill, 39, who is serving life after a carjacking that left a woman dead.

"They're good this year, but we have only one master and one ranked expert. In the past, the inmates have had to face much more phenomenal players," said John Marshall, a chief actuary for insurance firm Benecard who took over running of the event after his company ceased to sponsor the tournament.


Released prisoner refused to leave

OAK PARK HEIGHTS, Minn., Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Officials with the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights said they had to call the police after a released prisoner refused to leave prison grounds.

The officials said an officer from the Oak Park Heights Police Department was called to the facility Nov. 13 after King Phillip Veiga, 23, refused to leave the prison, saying he wasn't due to be released until May 2009, the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press reported.

The police report said Veiga "would not sign any paperwork stating his release date was today because he felt he would be rearrested and brought back to prison."

Veiga was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for a fifth-degree controlled substance charge of possession of marijuana. He was placed on supervised release July 15 after spending 140 days in jail, but he was brought back to prison Aug. 8 after he violated the terms of his release, said Shari Burt, communications director for the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

Burt said Veiga was eventually convinced to leave the prison.

"He was released on his release date and is no longer under supervision," she said. "He was reluctant to leave prison because he didn't think all of his time was served, but it was. His sentence is completely discharged."


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