The Odd Side – March 31, 2015

Heave, Ho: Elephants Rescue 18-Wheeler Stranded on Louisiana Road

(Reuters) – When an 18-wheeler truck became stranded by the side of a Louisiana road, two elephants inside came to the rescue.

Sheriff’s deputies in Natchitoches Parish received a call about a stuck truck. Upon arriving on the scene, they saw two elephants preventing the vehicle from overturning.

The truck’s driver, also an elephant trainer, walked the elephants out of the cargo compartment and directed them to help prop up the vehicle, sheriff’s Captain Tony Moran said in an interview.

“It’s creative,” said Moran, who said the responding deputies were “just astonished to see it.”

Leaning side-by-side, the elephants pushed with their weight against the truck, the sheriff’s photos showed.

The truck was carrying three elephants from Florida. After a stop in New Orleans, they were on their way to a circus near Dallas.

The truck had pulled over on an interstate shoulder near Powhatan, Louisiana, about an hour south of Shreveport. The ground was soft after recent rains, the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

After summoning aid to right the truck, the driver walked the elephants back onto the truck, using spoken commands, Moran said. The elephants were unharmed and continued on their way.

Authorities did not issue any citations in the incident.

Missing in Missouri: Two Bactrian Camels

(Reuters) – The hunt is on for two missing Bactrian camels apparently taken from a central Missouri farm along with a pair of steers, authorities said.

The owner of the male two-hump camels told police he believed they were stolen with two 900-pound Black Angus steers, likely using a trailer, said Tom O’Sullivan, a detective for the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

The tan camels are three years old and nine feet tall.

“We’re trying to figure out what the market is for camels, where they might be headed and for what purpose,” O’Sullivan said in a telephone interview.

Cattle thefts are somewhat common, but camels are not usually reported missing, and investigators are contacting livestock organizations, O’Sullivan said. The police report does not indicate a value on the camels or steers, he said.

Camels are not known for being gentle and cooperative animals, which indicates that the thieves must have known what they were doing in leading them away, O’Sullivan said.

Authorities are not disclosing the farmer’s identity because he was the victim of a crime, O’Sullivan said.

The steers are tagged, but the owner does not know if the camels have electronic identifying tracking chips, according to O’Sullivan. He was not sure how long the farmer has owned the camels.

Authorities: Woman Posed as Lawyer for Decade, Named Partner

PITTSBURGH (AP) – A woman used forged documents to pose as an estate lawyer for a decade and made partner at her small firm before her fraud was discovered, according to charges.

Kimberly Kitchen was charged with forgery, unauthorized practice of law and felony records tampering.

State prosecutors contend Kitchen fooled BMZ Law by forging a law license, bar exam results, an email showing she attended Duquesne University law school and a check for a state attorney registration fee. The firm is based in Huntingdon, about 110 miles east of Pittsburgh.

Kitchen, of nearby James Creek, handled estate planning for more than 30 clients “despite never having attended law school,” the attorney general’s office said. She even served as president of her county bar, her lawyer said.

“She’s an incredibly competent person, and she worked very diligently and was devoted to the people she served,” lawyer Caroline  o said. “There are things about the charges we don’t agree with.”

The Huntington County Bar Association’s current president, Christopher Wencker, called the charges insufficient given “the level of betrayal” over 10 years. Local lawyers were the first to raise questions about Kitchen’s credentials.

BMZ Law didn’t immediately return calls seeing comment Friday. But in December, when the Huntingdon Daily News first reported on the case, the firm vowed to review her work.

“Sadly, it would appear that our firm was the last, in a long line of professionals, to have been deceived by Ms. Kitchen into believing she was licensed to practice law,” the firm’s statement said. “We are undertaking a thorough review of each and every file she may have handled.”

Kitchen, 45, previously was employed at Juniata College, where she worked in fundraising but “started holding herself out to be a lawyer,” Senior Deputy Attorney General George Zaiser said.

Kitchen, who is married to a state conservation ranger, is no longer working, her lawyer said.

“Since December, when she was asked not to practice again, she’s just been waiting for this to be resolved,” Roberto said.