It is time once again for our popular feature, "Animals Making the News," featuring heartwarming true stories about the wacky antics of our comical cousins in the animal kingdom, such as the fish that tried to kill the woman in Pennsylvania. We are not making this wacky antic up. Here is a direct quotation from the award-winning Philadelphia Inquirer: "A fish, believed to be a muskellunge, knocked a 19-year-old Bucks County woman unconscious when it leaped out of the Delaware River and struck her in the head and chest."

Notice that the story says "believed to be a muskellunge." This prompts me to remind you readers, once again, of a fundamental Crime-Stopper Tip: If you or someone you know is assaulted by a fish, ALWAYS TRY TO GET AN ACCURATE DESCRIPTION. The police are not going to waste their time looking for a fish "believed to be" a muskellunge, because the case would never stand up in court:

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Mrs. Jones, are you CERTAIN that it was THIS muskellunge who attacked you?

VICTIM: Yes, I am.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well perhaps it will interest you to learn, Mrs. Jones, that this is actually the defendant's BROTHER, Maurice.

(Bedlam erupts in the courtroom. The defense lawyer triumphantly slams his briefcase shut, killing Maurice.)

A strikingly similar but even more tragic incident occurred recently in Sacramento County, Calif., where a man named Elmer Searle, 80, was struck in the head by a flying dog named Chaps. We are still not making this up. According to a story in a newspaper named The Sacramento Bee, which I'm sure has also won many awards, Chaps was crossing the street when he was struck by a Volkswagen van, causing him to become airborne for 39 feet before striking Mr. Searle, who was knocked into a drainage ditch where he hit his head on some rocks. He was out there visiting his grandchildren.

Mr. Searle is coming along okay, but Chaps had to be dispatched via veterinarian to the Great Mailbox Post in the Sky. This makes him a potential customer for a company in Pinellas Park, Fla., named Preservation Specialties, which for only a few hundred dollars will ... FREEZE-DRY YOUR PET

I spoke to the owner of Preservation Specialties, Jeffrey R. Weber, and he said that what they do is, they put your pet into a freezer until it gets to be about 5 degrees below zero, and then they use a freeze-drying machine to remove your pet's water content, and then, voila`, there is your pet, looking just like it always did, only dead. "Customers generally cry when they pick up the animal," reports Weber. "They put them in front of the fireplace, next to the bed, wherever the animal liked to be."

Prices range from $350 for a cat in the lying position to $1,800 for a large dog in the attack position, which not only makes a fine memento but also can be an effective crime deterrent, as was shown by a recent incident in St. Louis when Bart, a freeze-dried Doberman pinscher, apprehended Lester A. Wampus Jr., a freeze-dried burglar. No, seriously, we are just making that last incident up, although it is getting harder and harder to tell.

Speaking of frozen animals, here's a Homeowner Tip: Don't throw away those dead mice! I learned this from a friend and former neighbor of mine named Libby Burger, who, whenever she caught a mouse in a trap, would put it in a plastic Glad bag and stick it in her freezer in case she needed it at some later date. We laughed at her, until one extremely cold January evening when a group of us were sitting around, wondering what to do about a thoughtless motorist who kept illegally parking his car so it almost blocked the entrance to our subdivision. Suddenly we realized two or three dozen frozen mice would be the perfect things to place in various hidden locations inside this motorist's car, such as under the seat and in the ashtray, to serve as friendly decaying reminders, come warmer weather, of the importance of respecting the basic right of all Americans to freely ingress and egress their subdivisions.

NOTE TO IMPRESSIONABLE YOUNG PEOPLE: We are not suggesting that YOU should try such a stunt. Remember that we were responsible revenge-seeking adults who had been drinking whiskey sours. Also remember that you may need a coat hanger to unlock the car door.