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NASCAR fan goes cuckoo; parrot pays

A New Jersey man has been indicted on a charge of animal cruelty after being accused of shooting and killing his African gray parrot with a BB gun because its screeching annoyed him while he was watching a NASCAR race on television.

Dennis Zeglin, 67, of Randolph was indicted Tuesday by a Morris County grand jury. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Zeglin allegedly shot the parrot, named “Mikey,” three times June 7. His wife called police when she saw the bird had been killed.

Zeglin’s attorney, Stephen Fletcher, said his client was intoxicated at the time and afterward received treatment for alcoholism. He said Zeglin regrets the incident and hopes to be accepted into a pretrial intervention program.

It’s not certain if the intervention is for animal abuse, alcohol abuse or being a NASCAR fanatic.

• RAUCOUS BUCKEYES — Ohio State basketball players were so rowdy in a hotel room two nights before Sunday’s game in Columbus, Ohio, that security was called.

The excessive noise at The Blackwell Hotel couldn’t have been too loud because the players were from the Buckeyes’ 1960 team that got together over the weekend for the 50-year reunion of its national championship.

Joe Roberts, a senior guard on the team, said the players were doing nothing more than laughing and joking.

“We weren’t talking that loud,” Roberts told The Columbus Dispatch. “The loudmouths ‘Sieg’ (Larry Siegfried) and Bobby Knight weren’t even there.”

On Saturday, the players attended a cocktail reception at St. John Arena, their old home court, and Knight showed up.

John (Havlicek), Bobby and I spoke,” Jerry Lucas said. “I got up and told a few things on Bobby. He was after me, and I knew I was going to be lambasted, but he was very kind to me.”

All five starters on that team — Roberts, Havlicek, Lucas, Siegfried and Mel Nowell — were drafted to play in the NBA when the league had only nine teams.

• DANICA EXPOSED — Danica Patrick should get higher TV ratings this month than any other racer.

The IndyCar star makes her stock car debut this weekend in a televised race from Daytona Beach, Fla. And she might compete Feb. 13 at Daytona in her first NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

But Patrick’s biggest ratings hauls will be away from the track.

On Feb. 10, she will guest-star on the popular CBS prime-time program “CSI: NY.” She plays the top competitor of a racing star who dies under suspicious circumstance on a Manhattan street as the result of car tampering.

Millions more will see her in racing sponsor GoDaddy.com commercials during the Super Bowl.

But no one is complaining about the speedy vixen being overexposed.

COMPILED BY JEFF WOLF LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

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