Around the region for Feb.1

Published: Monday, February 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 10:46 p.m.


More than 400 arrests made at Tampa parade

TAMPA - Police in Tampa arrested more than 400 people at the annual Gasparilla Parade.

Police say the arrests Saturday included 406 misdemeanors. The majority were alcohol related. Police also made seven arrests on felony charges, including battery on a law enforcement officer, battery on a police horse, fake ID and drug charges.

About two dozen suspects were transported to jail. All the rest were released and given notice to appear in court.

Police say seven juveniles face alcohol charges. Officials attributed the low number of juvenile arrests to an extensive education campaign in area high schools about a new zero tolerance policy.

Katrina dogs survive earthquake in Haiti

MIAMI - These dogs must have nine lives.

Dachshunds Bella and Deiter survived Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Then they survived the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti.

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International helped get the dogs to Miami on Friday.

Artist Paul Fowler adopted the pair after Katrina. He promised to never abandon them. Fowler and his wife took the dogs to Haiti three years ago when Tulane University sent her there to work with AIDS patients.

After the earthquake, the couple stayed with relatives in West Palm Beach. They had to leave Bella and Deiter with a friend because the dogs weren't allowed on their transport plane out of Haiti.

Now that they're reunited, the dogs and their owners plan to return to New Orleans.

2 duck species make rare appearance

MELBOURNE - Birders are flocking to a Central Florida county where two duck species have made rare appearances.

A Harelquin duck was spotted in Sebastian Inlet in Brevard County. Meanwhile, a masked duck has been seen in the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands in Viera.

Experts say Harlequin ducks usually don't migrate much farther south than New England. The birds are usually found in Iceland, Greenland, western Russia and Canada.

Masked ducks are more commonly found in Mexico and typically don't migrate this far away from South America and the Caribbean.

Man gets life for fatally shooting neighbor

DADE CITY - A Pasco County man convicted of fatally shooting a neighbor over a stolen PlayStation 3 and other property has been sentenced to life in prison.

A judge sentenced 30-year-old Edward Stoddard on Thursday. A jury convicted him earlier this month of second-degree murder.

Authorities said Stoddard shot 26-year-old Doug Abrams in April 2008, because Stoddard reportedly believed Abrams had stolen his belongings.

Collier County deputy charged with theft

NAPLES - A Collier County deputy faces theft charges after authorities say she collected thousands of dollars in childcare subsidies for adopted children no longer in her care.

The sheriff's office began investigating 40-year-old Sandra Lois Mendez in December after her ex-husband reported the extra deposits. She was arrested Friday on charges of scheming to defraud, petty theft and 13 counts of grand theft.

Authorities said Mendez adopted the children in 2001 and began receiving a monthly $305 subsidy. But when the children moved out in 2008, Mendez reportedly failed to tell the state Department of Children and Families.

Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said Mendez has been placed on administrative leave.

Compiled from

The Associated Press

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