KLAMATH FALLS, Oregon - Following the arrest of a local man who had convinced nearly three dozen women across the United States and Canada to commit suicide on the Internet on Valentine's day, police in Klamath Falls, Oregon, warned people to beware of copycat schemes.
"Harebrained notions like this usually bring the crazies out of the woodpile," said police Sgt. Darryl Bedlington.
"We've had several tips already that somebody might be trying to disrupt that big dog show in New York by getting dogs to run away from home. Therefore, we're warning dog owners to monitor their dogs' Internet contacts this weekend."
That big dog show in New York is the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club show. Often referred to as the Super Bowl of dog shows, Westminster is set to lift its leg on Monday in Madison Square Garden. More than 2,600 dogs are expected to compete for the coveted best-in-show title, which will be awarded Tuesday night.
"It's dog eat dog in the garden," said Bill Cosby, a longtime fixture among celebrity dog owners at Westminster. "People will stop at nothing to win. They'll bribe judges; they'll use cosmetic surgery to cover up their dogs' faults; there's even one owner who drugs rival owners the night before the show and then holds them prisoner and gropes them. It wouldn't surprise me if some unscrupulous person tried to seduce dogs into leaving home."
The American Kennel Club (AKC), which sanctions the Westminster show, believes that an educated dog owner is a good owner. Therefore, the AKC humane education department has posted a notice on its Web site, advising owners how to spot a dog in a chatroom.
"It isn't always easy to separate the men from the mutts or the women from the woofers online," the notice begins. "In order to make those distinctions, dog owners should be on the lookout for the following suspicious behaviors."
- Chatroom name is Max or Lady.
- Insists on meeting in PetSmart instead of restaurant.
- Lists height as twenty-eight inches at the shoulders.
- Wants to know how old you are in dog years.
- Thinks the "pause" button on the keyboard is misspelled.
- Asks repeatedly if you've been fixed.
- Acts weird about exchanging photos.
- Just had the entire house re-roofed for $100.
- Wants you to sign petition to bring back the Taco Bell dog.
- Can't understand why people make such a fuss about sextuplets.
- Shows unusual interest in schedule of "the e-mailman."
In related news, police have uncovered a plot, financed by the Recording Industry Association of America, to convince people who download music illegally from the Internet to kill themselves while listening to it.