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July 16, 2012 at 6:00 AM
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'Suck it' carved into horse's teeth

BANDERA, Texas, July 15 (UPI) -- Police in Bandera, Texas, say they aren't going to pursue charges against a man who carved "suck it" into a horse's teeth.

The words "suck it" were carved into the incisors of "Cowboy" the horse in 2009, allegedly by a man named Nick Coates, the San Antonio Express-News reported Saturday.

Coates had been hired by the Running R Guest Ranch to file the teeth of horses there in the fall 2009, said ranch manager Diane Migliaccio.

Migliaccio alleged Coates took the opportunity to engrave the teeth of Cowboy, and another horse, Diablo, using a Dremel-like rotary tool. "RR" was found carved into Diablo's teeth.

"I was irate," Migliaccio said.

Veterinarian Samantha Mixon said the act of engraving a horse's teeth constitutes animal cruelty and filed a complaint against Coates on June 26.

Police investigated the incident, but cited a statue of limitations and varying vet opinions when they said they will not likely pursue charges against Coates.

"At this point, the case is pretty well closed unless I get additional information," Sgt. Shane Merritt of the Bandera County Sheriff's Office said Thursday.

Lawn chair balloon flight forced to land

BEND, Ore., July 15 (UPI) -- A lawn chair balloon flight for two men was forced to land early in Oregon due to variable wind, thunderstorms and the loss of 35 helium-filled balloons.

Kent Couch and Fareed Lafta hoped to reach Montana by Sunday in their specially built, two lawn chair rig, but were forced to land just hours after they took off Saturday, flight spokesman Mark Knowles told CNN.

Knowles said first Couch and Lafta lost 35 balloons, which made it difficult for them to reach the right altitude and when they finally got high enough, the wind currents weren't strong enough.

Then, a thunderstorm hit.

"Fareed said it was hailing and snowing on them," said Lance Schliep, a member of the chase crew. "They got real concerned about that. They wanted to get down."

Couch and Lafta ended up landing in a farmer's field.

Schliep helped Couch design and construct the rig.

"We would put it together, keep making changes and take it apart," he said. "It was very exciting and fun to do. It's just disappointing at this stage."

The team's Web site says Couch and Lafta, an Iraqi, plan on launching a cluster balloon craft to raise awareness of the plight of Iraqi orphans later this year.

Image of 'Virgin Mary' forms in N.J. tree

WEST NEW YORK, N.J., July 15 (UPI) -- Hundreds of people are flocking to a New Jersey city to see what they say appears to be the likeness of the Virgin Mary that has formed in a tree.

The image formed on a tree trunk near the intersection of 60th Street and Bergenline Avenue in West New York, The Jersey Journal, Jersey City, N.J., reported Friday.

Angie Maticorena went to see the image of the Virgin Mary Thursday, but said she couldn't get too close, because of the crowd.

Angus Kennedy from Long Island, but was in West New York for work, said he got goose bumps from looking at the image.

"It's really cool," Kennedy said. "As you keep looking at it, you start to feel something."

Yet, not everyone is sure what to make of it.

"I think [it's special if] they believe in [the Virgin of] Guadalupe," said Gerardo Gaspor of West New York. Gaspor said he is not very religious and thought the image was "nothing special."

Court laughs as 'bedridden' man walks

POMPANO BEACH, Fla., July 15 (UPI) -- A Florida courtroom erupted in laughter as a supposedly bedridden man apparently got up and walked away after appearing on a video link on a trespassing charge.

Carl Funk, 58, of Hallandale Beach, appeared before Broward Judge John "Jay" Hurley, via a jailhouse-courtroom video link Friday for a 2005 trespassing and open-container warrant, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

Two deputies at the jail helped put Funk in a chair, where he sat during the hearing.

Funk pleaded not guilty to the charges, arguing that he was bedridden and on the night of the alleged trespassing, two men carried him out of his home to a neighbor's property.

"I was [dragged] out by two unknown people," Funk said, adding that he had no memory of holding an open container of alcohol.

The judge set Funk's bond at $100, but after he said he could not afford it, Hurley offered Funk a six-month payment plan of $50 in exchange for a guilty plea, which Funk accepted.

Then, Funk stood up and walked away off screen.

Deputies at the jail said Funk used a walker that could not be seen on camera.

As the courtroom erupted with laughter, Hurley said, "He's been cured."

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