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Jan. 6, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Two fishermen caught something unexpected two miles off shore in Tampa Bay on Thursday morning: a struggling dog. When they saw the dog treading water in the waves, they brought her on board their boat and took her back to the dock, where they left her with another boat owner, Anthony Basile. “I put towels on her. Warm towels on her, put the heat on in the boat,” said Basile. The little dog was wearing a collar that said her name was Baby, but the phone number listed on her tags and with her microchip has been disconnected. Now, Basile is hoping the owner of the well-trained and friendly pooch sees the news coverage and comes forward to claim her. In the meantime, he’s grown attached and promises to take care of her. "If you watch the dog, she's looking for somebody else," he said. "I'm not going to leave the dog’s side. I'll find a home for her or keep her as long as it has to be.” — Watch it at Florida’s ABC Action News
Back in 2006, little Knut stole hearts around the world when he was rejected by his mom at the Berlin Zoo and raised by his keeper, Thomas Dorflein. But in 2011, the 4-year-old polar bear died suddenly in front of zoo visitors. Now, after an exhaustive analysis, scientists from around the world have determined that the young bear likely died of viral encephalitis, or brain swelling, which caused seizures. "Because of the new knowledge on pathogens in polar bears the zoos can now begin to develop management strategies to minimize their occurrence," said Heribert Hofer, head of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research Berlin. — Read it at Live Science
With temperatures hovering below zero in St. Louis, Mo., city officials warned pet owners on Friday that cats and dogs who are found outside in the bitter cold will be confiscated and their owners cited with animal cruelty. Mayor Francis Slay said search teams looking for homeless people on the streets as well as police officers would be watching for pets who are left outdoors. St. Louis is digging out from under a foot of snow and the city was expecting a high of -3 degrees today, and had a wind chill of -24 degrees this morning. It’s part of a historic cold snap that’s gripping much of the nation this week. — Read it at St. Louis Post-Dispatch and learn how to protect your animals from winter weather
Just before Christmas, keepers at Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Ariz., heard tiny sounds coming from the lion cubbing den. They discovered that mom Kaya had given birth to five babies. Sadly, one cub didn’t survive, which isn’t unusual for a lion litter this large. Of the surviving cubs, there are three males and one female. “A litter of five cubs is unusual,” said Dr. Alexis Moreno, a veterinarian at the zoo. “It would be a challenge for five cubs to thrive — and we are monitoring the health of the remaining four offspring closely — it is still a large litter. I am cautiously optimistic at this point.” This is the second litter for Kaya and her partner, Shombay. Zoo officials say Kaya is eating well and nursing the cubs, and has been protective of her little ones. — Read it at Zooborns
For its 10th annual show, Animal Planet’s famous Puppy Bowl will have some extra star power — feline celebrities Keyboard Cat and Lil Bub. The talented Keyboard Cat will perform during the halftime show (which often features cats), and Lil Bub will “check in throughout the game.” Puppy Bowl X airs on Animal Planet opposite Super Bowl XLVIII on Sun., Feb. 2. You can meet the stars of this year’s Puppy Bowl and set up a fantasy team at the show’s web site. — Read it at People Pets
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