Pet Scoop: Beagle Survives Fall From Bridge, Scientists ID How Tabby Gets Its Stripes

Sept. 21, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Brandi the Beagle survived a 70-foot jump from a New Jersey bridge.
Brandi the Beagle survived a 70-foot jump from a New Jersey bridge.

New Jersey Dog Jumps From Bridge, and Makes It to Shore

When Brandi, a 7-year-old Beagle, got away from her owner on a walk last week, she headed for the Burlington-Bristol Bridge, which connects her home state of New Jersey with neighboring Pennsylvania. A police officer and a group of kids attempted to help her, but Brandi got scared and jumped over the side of the 70-foot suspension bridge. The officer was shocked when he looked down. "She was swimming and made it to the shoreline," he said. The Beagle fought the current and arrived on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River. A vet confirmed the next day that dog only suffered a few bruises. “There’s nothing to be said other than it’s a miracle,” the dog’s owner, Alexis Lorenz, told WPIX in New York. — Read it at the LA Times

Tourists Get Close-Up With a Cheetah

A group of travelers on a safari in Kenya spent some quality time with an animal they dubbed “Breetah the Cheetah.” The big cat leaped up on their parked vehicle, where she spent 45 minutes sitting eye-to-eye with the tourists. “I’m not sure that I was breathing and my knees were buckling,” said Cate Girskis. “She was stunning.” The tour guide told the group not to move or talk, and it turned out that the cheetah just wanted to use the vehicle as a perch to look for prey. Finally, when the guide started the engine, Breetah hopped off, ending their close encounter. “It was elation and relief” when she left, Girskis said. — Watch it at CNN

Rabid Animal Reports on the Rise

Officials are seeing an increase in cases of animals with rabies, including skunks, bats and even beavers — and it comes as supplies of the rabies vaccine used to treat humans are down. Jesse Blanton, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimates that the number of confirmed cases will be on the high end of the 6,000 to 7,000 typically seen in a year in the U.S. “We’ve had essentially a lack of a winter, a very warm summer and reports of animal rabies are up,” he said. Two manufacturers of the vaccine are reporting limited supplies, and neither could estimate when more would be available. — Read it at NBC News

Tabby cat

DNA Determines a Tabby’s Distinct Pattern

Researchers have identified the gene that determines whether a tabby cat has stripes or blotches and it depends on whether that particular gene is turned on or off. A new study published in the journal Science notes that cats with narrow stripes, or the “mackerel” pattern, have a working copy of the gene. In those cats whose coats have the blotchy or “classic” pattern, a mutation has turned the gene off. Greg Barsh, one of the authors who works at both Stanford University and the HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology, said that pattern is called “classic” because “cat lovers really like the blotched pattern.” — Read it at AP via the Washington Post

Louisiana Dog Winds Up in Illinois After Hurricane

Baton Rouge, La., resident Freddie Hollier thought there must be some mistake when he got a call from a shelter in Illinois saying that they had his missing dog, T'Chen. The dog wandered away when Hurricane Isaac hit the Gulf Coast area three weeks ago. An Army Corps worker from Illinois found her, but couldn’t find a Louisiana shelter to bring her to, so he brought her to an Illinois shelter when he went home. A group called Lost Pets of Baton Rouge helped the two reconnect, and Pilots N Paws will bring T’Chen back home next week. — Read it at Louisiana’s WAFB

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