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PHUKET: It’s often said in journalism, “If a dog bites a man, that’s not news. But if a man bites a dog, now that’s news.” The more unusual and infrequent events gets Weird World News’ vote every time. So we think a dog shooting a man, toads predicting earthquakes and cobras scaring tax officials are in the right vein of peculiar to make this week’s roundup.

Hunter shot in bum by his dog

THE motive is still unclear why a dog shot its owner with a 12-gauge shotgun earlier this week in Utah, United States.

What police do know is that the 46-year-old duck hunter was on a shoot with friends when the “accident” happened.

The man was climbing out of a boat when the dog (name, age, not given) trod on the shotgun, firing a round.

The round hit the hunter directly in the buttocks (cheek not known).

Utah County Deputy Sherrif Kevin Potter said the man was hit from about 10 feet away with a total of 27 pellets of cartridge.

The man’s waders prevented serious injury, Utah News reported.

At this point it is not known whether the dog has been co-operating with the police investigation.

Men really do bite dogs

The Santa Cruz Sentinel in 2000 published a story about a San Francisco man who bit his own dog. The apt headline: “Man bites dog”.

“It’s news! Man bites dog” was the headline of a Reuters story in 2007 – no prizes for guessing what the story was about.

In Brazil in 2008 a boy biting a dog caused a stir, and inspired a slew of “Man bites dog” headlines.

Last year in Connecticut NBC reported another “Man bites dog” story.

This year a Californian man did the unthinkable: He bit a snake. Now that’s news.

Sneaky snake charmer releases cobras in tax office

IT’S probably wise not to anger a snake charmer – and their venomous pals.

A disgruntled snake charmer known as “Hakkul” released dozens of poisonous snakes, including cobras, inside his local tax office, in northern India this week.

The reason: He was protesting his application denial for a new plot of land to keep his snakes.

After the charmer let his “friends” out the bag, Uttar Pradesh state tax office workers lept onto tables quivering in fear.

“He had applied for a plot of land to keep his snakes,” Subhash Mani Tripathi, head of land revenue administration, told AFP.

“But there is no provision for such a business. Instead of seeking a written reply, which we would have issued, Hakkul created panic by letting loose a bunch of snakes all over the office.”

Hakkul said a district magistrate had promised him the land for his reptilian roommates more than two years ago.

He said that he is a “conservationist” who had been seeking the government’s help for too long.

“I had no option but to leave my snakes in this tax office,” he said.

No injuries have been reported, but police have yet to locate all the snakes.

You’ve got to be croaking… toads predicting earthquakes!

TOADS may be used to help scientists predict earthquakes in the near future.

This is because the amphibians can sense chemical changes in groundwater just before seismic activity, a study in UK has found.

Experts began investigating the earthquake-predicting skills of toads after a colony was seen legging it from a pond in L’Aquila, Italy, in 2009, a few days before a devastating 6.3 magnitude quake struck killing more than 300.

The researchers, led by Friedemann Freund from NASA and Rachel Grant from the UK’s Open University, hope their study will improve earthquake prediction around the world, the Telegraph reported.

Remember to tune in next week for more of the Phuket Gazette‘s new Weird World News roundup.