Drinking Nemo

Winters are long and cold on the Canadian prairie. Maybe that's why tropical fish are popular drinks in Calgary, Alberta.

Animal lover David Beart was shocked last Friday when he watched six men belly up to the bar at Booker's BBQ Grill & Crab Shack (search) — and gulp down an equal number of live goldfish, each drowning in a shot glass full of booze.

"I was quite horrified by the whole ordeal," Beart, 36, told the Toronto Globe and Mail. "These are living beings."

Outraged, Beart put his account of the incident up on his Web site, ThePetProfessor.com, and informed the local humane society, the health inspector and city and provincial authorities.

"What does this do for tourism?" he asked rhetorically. "When people come here, they'll think, 'What kind of redneck losers live here?'"

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (search) spokeswoman Cheryl Wallach told the Calgary Herald she'd never heard of anyone doing goldfish shots before. She was clearly unaware of a long tradition of guppy drinking south of the border among college students and during Prohibition.

"Obviously, the only use these fish have is for entertainment purposes, and as a society, we don't believe animals should be killed for the purpose of entertainment, which is what is happening here," Wallach told the Daily News of Kamloops, British Columbia.

Bar owner Bruce Claypool insists the animal lovers had it all wrong.

"We were never promoting or advertising the shots — it's not even on the menu," he told the Daily News.

He said the bar kept the goldfish around to feed its piranhas and catfish, and only picked them out for human consumption upon request.

"Once in a while, you get a customer who says, 'Hey, let's play a little "Fear Factor" game. Can we have one of those in a shooter?'" Claypool explained to the Globe and Mail.

The SCPA decided that while the practice was disturbing, it wasn't illegal in Alberta to drink goldfish.

The health inspector ruled otherwise, and on Tuesday, Booker's announced it would stop selling goldfish shots.

Despite having had to back down about downing fish, Claypool saw the upside to the controversy.

"There's more going on to worry about," he told the Globe and Mail. "But a lot of people are talking about Booker's right now."

— Thanks to Out There reader Johnny C.

Vanity, Thy Name Is Bison

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A buffalo that escaped from an auction ended up in a dressing room at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center where it spent a couple of hours staring into a mirror.

The buffalo jumped over a steel panel during the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo (search) on Sunday morning, went down an alley and got into the dressing room reserved for visiting sports teams, said Brian Maliske, the civic center's general manager.

"The door happened to be unlocked and he pushed the door open and went in," Maliske said.

The crew conducting the Black Hills Classic Buffalo Sale (search) decided to keep the animal locked in the dressing room for the rest of the auction.

During its two-hour stay, it reportedly became fascinated with the image it saw in a big mirror.

Once the sale ended, a rodeo crew member coaxed the buffalo out of the dressing room and back into captivity.

The animal never got into a public area, Maliske said.

— Thanks to Out There reader Amy O.

High School Pet-Skinning Legally Approved

THOMPSON, Ohio (AP) — Police and humane society officials decided not to file charges against a 16-year-old student who skinned and cooked a Guinea pig and a rabbit during a living skills class.

They said Jan. 27 it would have been hard to prove the killings were unnecessary because students did eat some of the meat, and investigators didn't find evidence the animals suffered needlessly.

As earlier reported in Out There, authorities said the student killed the rabbit with a bow-and-arrow and used a knife to kill the Guinea pig at home before cooking them in class at Ledgemont High School (search) on Jan. 19.

"From a standpoint of being able to prosecute, we could not find evidence to pursue a cruelty charge," said Sharon Harvey, executive director of the Geauga Humane Society (search). "Do we disapprove of what happened? Absolutely. But, sadly, what happened is not illegal."

Beto Gage, principal of the school about 35 miles northeast of Cleveland, said living skills teacher, Diana Stevens, lets students prepare meals once a quarter.

The student had asked Stevens if he could catch and cook a wild rabbit and she approved, provided he gut the carcass before class, Gage said.

Students who didn't want to watch were allowed to leave the room.

The boy, whose name hasn't been released, bought the animals at a pet store. He told school officials he bought the animals because he wasn't able to catch a wild rabbit during a hunt.

Hopping Mad

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — Roo rage is apparently on the rise in Australia, a post-graduate student studying the phenomenon said Tuesday.

Guy Ballard, a student at the University of New England (search) in the north of New South Wales state, began logging kangaroo attacks on humans after two such incidents in 1999 and 2002.

"We had thought there would be three to five attacks in the past two years but we've had 15 to 20 reports so far," Ballard said. "We are going to expand our research to better understand the context of the attacks."

He studied a small region between Coffs Harbor (search), a coastal town 300 miles north of Sydney. Although such incidents are rare, Ballard said kangaroos can become aggressive and will attack if provoked.

"Now that more urbanized people are coming into contact with kangaroos they are starting to learn the lessons that rural Australians have known for quite some time," he said.

Ballard said an Eastern Grey kangaroo is about the same size as an average man and can inflict serious lacerations.

"It's about six feet tall with sharp claws and powerful hind legs. You wouldn't want to come up against that," he said.

Last year, there were two reported kangaroo attacks in the Australian capital, Canberra, hundreds of miles south of Coffs Harbor.

In one, a woman was attacked and in another, a woman said a kangaroo drowned her golden retriever in a pond.

Officials blamed those attacks on a drought that had forced the marsupials into the capital in search of food and water.

Doing the Australian Crawl — Very Quickly

DARWIN, Australia (AP) — Swimmers evacuated a public swimming pool here when they discovered they were sharing it with a mighty fearsome swimmer — a crocodile.

About four people were swimming laps of the Olympic-length pool on the outskirts of Darwin when a life guard was alerted that a one-yard-long saltwater crocodile had been spotted.

"Lap swimmers were swimming and then a lady came up and said there was a crocodile," pool life guard Maxine Cross told Australian Broadcasting Corp. television.

The pool was closed until early afternoon Sunday when government wildlife authorities removed the young reptile. They described it as placid and in poor health.

Government spokesman Clay Smith could not say whether it had crawled to the pool from the wild or had been dumped there. It was taken to a Darwin crocodile farm where it will either join breeding stock or be slaughtered for leather.

Saltwater crocodiles native to the Darwin area can grow up to 20 feet in length.

The World's Most Expensive Hedgehog

MARSEILLE, France (AP) — Most people wouldn't pay 10 cents for a dead hedgehog. The French government has shelled out over $4 million.

On March 22, 1998, the hedgehog's carcass was lying at the end of a runway at the airport in the southern city of Marseille (search), attracting about 20 seagulls that were picking at it.

Soon an Air France Airbus A320 (search) roared past and the plane's right engine sucked in the flock of hapless birds, causing the plane to skid to an emergency stop. The engine was damaged.

A court in Marseille ruled Tuesday that the French government was responsible for keeping the runways clear of such perils and that its staff at the airport should have noticed "such a large group of birds" in the path of the jet.

It ordered the government to pay $4.2 million to Air France (search) and five insurance companies that had paid out after the accident.

Man Acquires Smelly, Bearded Roommate

VENETA, Ore. (AP) — So far nobody has gotten Randy Cox's goat. But Cox wishes someone would.

Cox found the affable brown-and-white male in his detached rec room when he came home from work Jan. 27, and the goat shows no sign of wanting to leave.

He found the animal communing with his dog, Dandy, and both seemed to be hitting it off.

Cox said he had seen the goat in his neighborhood, but doesn't think it lives there. Calls to the authorities didn't help much.

"I called animal control. They told me to call the sheriff. The sheriff said call animal control. Then they gave me an emergency number for loose livestock," he said.

Nobody answered.

Cox's land isn't fenced, and he worries the goat may get hit by a vehicle.

He's friendly, as long as you don't turn your back on him, Cox said.

"But he did butt my truck," he said.

And the goat-dog camaraderie ended when Cox started petting the goat and Dandy started barking.

"I think he's jealous," Cox said.

Dog Destroys Furniture, Saves Owner

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — In the three years since Mark Anderson answered a newspaper advertisement for a free puppy that needed a good home, the female black Labrador has chewed through a couch, a window sill, two cell phones and two carpets.

"So she's cost me about a grand," Anderson said as he stroked Midnight, who answers to Middy. "She's a goat. She'll eat anything."

That damage seems paltry now that the dog has saved him from a house fire.

"He would have been dead if it hadn't been for his dog, absolutely," city fire Capt. Mike Zambryski said.

Anderson, 39, said he fell asleep on his couch the night of Jan. 18 watching David Letterman on television and was awakened by Middy's barking about 8 a.m. the next morning.

"I couldn't breathe. I couldn't see 2 feet in front of me. I realized I was in the middle of a fire," he said. "I was going to sleep right through it."

Choking on smoke, Anderson managed to head for a spot of light that turned out to be a window, opened it, pushed out the screen and jumped outside — followed by Middy.

Most of the house was destroyed.

"I'm so lucky to be alive. It's just starting to hit me," Anderson said. "Thank God I didn't put her out this morning."

Fire Battalion Chief Bob Green said the flames were ignited in curtains next to a baseboard heater.

Anderson said he had a smoke detector, but it was unclear whether it was working.

"Obviously, the smoke detector didn't wake him up," Zambryski said.

Compiled by FOXNews.com's Paul Wagenseil.

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