Well, some good news at last for dogs that are accused of being the reincarnation of irritating lawyers.
The Israeli newspaper Marriv reported a couple of weeks ago that a court in an ultra-Orthodox area of Israel had sentenced a stray dog to death by stoning, believing that the dog, which had wandered into a courtroom, was the reincarnation of a lawyer who had insulted a judge 20 years before. This story was repeated by a number of other sources, but not by yours truly, who has some experience in distinguishing between the unlikely-but-probably-true and the probably-unlikely-to-be-true. I couldn't find any other details on the story, so did not mention it.
Now, not too surprisingly, it appears that the original story in fact was not true, and that Marriv has apologized for it. According to this new report, the court issued a statement saying that a stray dog did wander into court, but that this was the only detail Marriv got right. "There was no talk of reincarnation, a lawyer has never been mentioned … and there was no stoning," the statement said. Other than that, good work, Marriv.
In fact, the court continued, "There is no basis for stoning dogs or any other animal in the Jewish religion." (Note the failure to mention lawyers there.) Nor did anybody suggest stoning this dog, except maybe in jest. The local children were "delighted" to have the dog around, and the court's only action was to call the local dog catcher. It seemed very disappointed about the false report. "Such inventions are a kind of blood libel," the statement continued, "and we wonder why the inventor of the story did not continue to describe how we collected the blood of the dog to make our matzah."
I guess I should clarify that the court was just kidding there. Matzah is actually made with baby blood.
By the way, I got this final version of the story via the "Headline of the Day," a mailing list maintained by Tom Harrison at Lawyers Weekly. If you want to sign up, email him at tom.harrison [at] lawyersweekly.com.