Freedom of Information Acts are a powerful transparency tool between governments and constituents. But they can also yield to some pretty freaky inquiries--as we found out Saturday when an organization of local governments representing more than 350 councils in England and Wales released a list of the most unusual requests they had received so far this year
Of that list, we present here--David Letterman style--the Top 10 Weirdest Petitions English Councils Have Had to Field in 2014, along with some snarky answer suggestions for the council-members:
1. "What plans are in place to protect the town from a dragon attack?" (Wigan Council)
Our answer: We haven't gotten that far in A Song of Fire and Ice yet, sorry.
2. "Please list all the types of animals you have frozen since March 2012, including the type and quantity of each animal." (Cambridge City Council)
Our answer: We can only account for the types of animals we have subjected to repeated screenings of Disney's "Frozen." The results may be disturbing.
3. "How many times has the council paid for the services of an exorcist, psychic or religious healer? Were the services performed on an adult, child, pet or building?" (Rossendale Council)
Our answer: Well, we've never *paid* for it.
4. "Please can you let me know how many roundabouts are located within your council boundaries." (Leicestershire County Council)
Our answer: That's what she said.
5. "What precautions, preparations, planning and costings have been undertaken in the case an asteroid crashes into Worthing, a meteorite landing in Worthing or solar activity disrupting electromagnetic fields?" (Worthing Borough Council)
Our answer: Just a sec. Gotta watch "Deep Impact" again.
6. "How many holes in privacy walls between cubicles have been found in public toilets and within council buildings in the last 10 years?" (Rossendale Council)
Our answer: Not knowing where the peepholes are is part of the fun!
7. "How many bodies are there in mortuaries that have been unclaimed for 10 years? How long have these bodies been in the mortuary? How old were they when they died? Is it possible to have the names of these people?" (Richmond Council)
Our answer: This is the last time we're gonna ask you to stop writing to us, Dr. Lecter.
8. "How many people in the town have a licence to keep a tiger, lion, leopard, lynx or panther as a pet?" (Scarborough Council)
Our answer: John "Cougar" Mellencamp.
9. "How many requests were made to council-run historic public-access buildings (e.g. museums) requesting to bring a team of 'ghost investigators' into the building?" (Birmingham Council)
Our answer: Are you the key master?
10. "How many children in the care of the council have been micro-chipped?" (Southend Council)
Our answer: 0011000111100010100