Man and Beast: Temps Rise, Tempers Flare

The heat index climbed over 110 last month and we've had more rain than you could shake a wet cat at -- two factors likely to get everybody feeling ornery.

Judging from the number of weird animal incidents this week, that includes our furry, feathered, and scaled friends around the state. This week we've seen a 8.5-foot Burmese python "pet" strangle a toddler in Oxford, a rabid kitten terrorizing teenagers in Wellington, a rash of rattlesnake bites in Pierson, and a pit bull in West Palm Beach going for police jugulars. Only the alligators and the sharks have been fairly quiet this summer [EDITED: Oops, spoke too soon; shark bite in Biscayne Nat'l Park July 5th]. Meanwhile, humans are shooting each other for a beer.

A nice cold brew is supposed to simmer everybody down, right? Not if you're 47-year-old Ricky Von Welch. The Broward Sheriff's Office reports that on Tuesday Welch got mad enough at his girlfriend's son, 22-year-old Lorenzo Jones, who was visiting his Mom at the couple's apartment on N.W. 31st Avenue, to knock a beer from the kid's hand. Knowing young men as we do, it's probably safe to surmise that Jones had filched the last brew in the fridge -- and before you know it they were both wielding switchblades.

Welch allegedly exchanged his blade for a gun and shot Jones in the abdomen -- an attempted murder which is the last of a long string of offenses that has seen Welch in and out of jail, from domestic battery to a 10-year sentence for kidnapping and murder. Welch is in police custody after a brief escape, and Jones is recovering from surgery at Broward General.

Now, tomorrow's a holiday and we've got a long (probably hot and rainy) weekend.  Go pop yourself a cold one and try to steer clear of armed kittens and kin.

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