Firefighters criticized for duck rescue
CHALFORD HILL, England, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- A British lobbying group has criticized a fire department for spending six hours on the rescue of a pet duck trapped in a pond's overflow pipe.
Chris and Karen Hutchens said a five-man team of Gloucestershire firefighters arrived at their Chalford Hill, England, home just before 9:30 a.m. and dug a trench to free their duck, Brownie, from the pipe, The Sun reported.
"It was such a relief when a fire engine turned up and they started digging the hole. The pipe was about 4 feet underground but they kept going, they were wonderful and really went beyond the call of duty," Karen Hutchens said.
However, a spokeswoman for lobbying group TaxPayers' Alliance criticized the firefighters' actions.
"Whilst no one likes to see a duck suffering, animal rescue is not the central job of the fire service," she said. "In this case there were no emergency calls pending, but calls can crop up at the last minute which could be much more pressing than the rescue of a duck."
A spokesman for the fire department said firefighters have humanitarian roles in their communities and were able to help in this case due to the lack of emergency calls.
Mom warned for yelling at children
WOOLSTON, England, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- A British woman said she was followed home by an off-duty police officer who overheard her yelling at her children and later received a warning.
The 34-year-old mother, who asked not to be named, said she threatened to smack her misbehaving children while they were shopping at a Woolston, England, grocery store in August, The Daily Mail reported.
The woman said two officers came to her door six weeks later and informed her an off-duty officer had overheard her during the incident and followed her home. She said a letter from the Southampton council children's services department told her no action was being planned "at this time" but her "chastisement" of the children would be on record for at least 14 years.
"If no one stands up to this oppression, this political correctness, parents will lose responsibility for their kids and the state will take over," the woman said. "The local authority have told me they're keeping my family on record until my kids leave school, and my daughter is only four."
"If she ever falls over and has to be taken to hospital I'm worried about what conclusions they might come to. I feel I'm being kept on record as an abuser, so I will always be looking over my shoulder," she said.
Loud lovemaking irks neighbors
SUNDERLAND, England, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- A British couple are appealing their conviction for breaching a noise abatement notice related to their loud lovemaking sessions.
The order had banned Caroline and Steve Cartwright of Sunderland, England, from "shouting, screaming or vocalization at such a level as to be a statutory nuisance," after repeated complaints from neighbors, a mail carrier and parents walking children to school past their building, The Sun reported.
Caroline Cartwright said the order is a violation of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, which she said gives her the right to "respect for her private and family life." She said a sexual psychologist will testify that she can't stop herself from making the noises during sexual activity.
Pamela Spark an environmental health manager with Sunderland City Council, said she visited the road outside of the Cartwrights' apartment and took notes on what she heard. She described the sounds as "hysterical, almost continuous, just screaming."
Man injured destroying fireworks
HOLLAND, Mich., Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Authorities in Michigan said a 79-year-old man suffered cuts, abrasions and burns when he attempted to destroy old fireworks in a backyard fire pit.
Ottawa County sheriff's deputies responding to a report of a fire on a roof in the area said they spotted the man near a fire pit late Sunday morning and a huge explosion followed that left the man injured, WWMT-TV, Kalamazoo, Mich., reported.
The man told investigators he was trying to destroy fireworks in the pit.
Deputies told the Holland (Mich.) Sentinel the Michigan Bomb Squad was called in dispose of the remaining fireworks.
Prosecutors said they are reviewing possible charges against the man.