Probe: Feb. 20, 2002

February 20, 2002

QUESTION: Can you look into a case of cruelty to a kitten in the 700 block of Olive Avenue in El Centro?

When I saw a man hitting a kitten wrapped in a sheet with his fist, I called the police. An officer came out and talked to the suspects. The bloody sheet was on the ground but the officer said that didn't prove anything. He said there was nothing he could do and left.

Why didn't they send the sheet to a laboratory for testing?

— Extremely Upset, El Centro

Police Lt. Paul Longoria said the sheet was not tested to determine the origin of the blood because El Centro does not have a forensic-testing laboratory.

Police Officer Eric Scoville said he talked Friday to the neighbors accused of abusing the kitten. A man, who admitted hitting the cat, said it ran away.


Scoville added neighbors said the man is mentally disabled and not competent to decide to kill a kitten.

None of your witnesses said they saw anybody hit the kitten, nor did they see the body of a kitten. All they really saw was your tearful reaction to the purported act.

The cops are in their third day of investigating the incident. Longoria said he will ask today that the city animal control officer delve deeper into the matter.

But don't hold your breath. It was just a homeless kitten among a batch of strays eeking out a living in the alley, surviving on handouts of neighborhood residents.

STOP THE BEEP — I can help those people jarred awake by latenight phone calls. That beeping is not a fax machine. It is a telemarketing computer calculating the best time to call you at home. Telemarketers pay big bucks to know the best time to reach you.

The way it works is if you pick up and hear the beep, you will immediately hang the phone up. That tells the computer you are home. If you don't have an answering machine the phone will keep ringing and the computer will not try at that time again.

If you have an answering machine, it also will not try at that time of day. It will know if you have an answering machine because the machine will record for four or more beeps.

Most answering machines are sound activated. They take their cue to record from noise (the beep) and to keep recording (beep! beep!). The computer again will know not to call at this time.

After you understand this, the solution is simple. Once you answer the phone and hear the beep, set the phone down until you hear that annoying sound that warns you that you left the phone off the hook. After a few calls answered with this technique, the beeping calls will stop! — Beep Buster, Cyberspace

Fiendishly clever, those machines. But they have not yet invented a machine that can stay up with the devious minds of PROBE readers.

By the way, we haven't had any complaints for a day or two of latenight calls. Did that night owl machine quit calling?

QUESTION: Why doesn't the Niland man with the goats take his neighbor to small claims court to recover the animals or sue for their value? He could get due process in the lower court. That's what it's designed to do, make justice simple and affordable. I would be willing to go with him. — Helpful, Seeley

Thank you. If he will get in touch with us, we will give him your phone number.

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