Paw and Order: Stolen kittens and invasive fish

Reading the police blotter is one of our favorite things to do. Whether it's the stupidity of the criminals involved, or the hilariously deadpan quotes the local cops give to the reporters, the police blotter cracks us up. (At least, the stories where nobody gets hurt.)

We've noticed lately that lots of these stories involve animals (in fact, our all-time favorite police-blotter item involved a Bourne, MA resident calling 9-1-1 to report "suspicious ducks"), so we thought we'd gather a few of the highlights for a periodic feature we like to call "Paw & Order."

Allen Park, MI: "Pet shop owner says child stole kitten, was encouraged by adults"

Owner Rick Simms must run a very appealing outfit at the Allen Park Critter Shop, because his business has been the victim of repeated – and creative – thefts over the years, including thieves drilling a hole in the roof to snag some puppies, and stashing stolen fish in a Big Gulp cup.

But, Simms says, this is a new one: surveillance video caught a teenager stuffing a kitten under his (or her) shirt, and it looked like a nearby man was encouraging the kid. Another apparent accomplice distracted the clerk at the counter while Kitten Stuffer Jr. and Sr. made off with the tiny feline, a black kitten about 8 weeks old who's had all its shots.

Detective Bill Mehall said they've received a tip, and it "does sound promising." (We're assuming someone dropped a dime on a teen with many tiny claw wounds to his/her torso.) The police assume the young thief was with his parents at the time, and Mehall added this hilariously obvious note on what might have motivated the kitten-napping: "I don't really know what the motive was at this point other than to take a cat without paying for it." Well…yeah.

Amherst, NY: "NY charges Canadian pet dealer with illegal export"

We know the sale and trade of endangered species is a serious problem…but we have to admit to chuckling at the lede on this story, in which Muk Leung Ip allegedly sold endangered Asian arowanas, giant snakehead fish, and white dragon lizards to an undercover U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent while working at a Markham, Ontario pet shop. We'd kind of love to hear the audio of that sting operation, first of all, and second of all, something about the phrase "invasive fish" cracks us up also. What, they stand too close to you? Ask intrusive questions about when you and your husband are planning to start trying for a baby? Burn the microwave popcorn at work?

(Yes, we know what "invasive" really means in this context – and it's a pretty big deal, as New York State AG Eric Schneiderman noted that Ip is charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor. Ip seems to have known the species were endangered and/or protected, and that they'd be smuggled into New York from Ontario.)

And speaking of animals going where they don't belong…

Murdock, FL: "Weird but true"

From the New York Post's kooky-news file comes this sad tail: a guy got arrested trying to bring a kitten into a strip joint.

Got all the "pussycat" jokes out of your system? Great. Here's what went down: Everett Robert Lages, 47, showed up at the Emerald City "gentlemen's club" drunk and wanted to come in with his pet kitten. It's hard to say which reason managers had for barring Lages from entry – the intoxication, or the sidekick who's not approved by the Board of Health – but Lages wasn't trying to hear it, and called 9-1-1. When police arrived, they took Lages into custody for misuse of 9-1-1, trespassing, and disorderly conduct; the cat was also taken into Animal Control custody before it could witness anything unsuitable for its tender age.

Seen a weird pet-related police-blotter headline? Got any crazy stories of your own? Share them in the comments!

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The $400 scratching post, and a defense by the company's owner