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April 4, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Hundreds of dogs (and their owners) in 22 states are part of the Dog Scouts of America, an organization of canines doing good deeds, complete with campouts, vests and badges that are specific to certain breeds. "These are not 'gimme' badges, not a walk in the park," said the group’s president. "A dog with a lot of badges has put a lot of time and training into it." — Read it at AP via CBS News
A tattoo behind his ear confirmed that a cat spotted in a German forest was indeed the same one who'd gone missing 16 years ago. Poldi and his owner will be reunited this week. — Read it at the Daily Mail
A garage-sized aquarium, a “Kittyloft” playground and a $50,000 custom doghouse are just some of the amazing amenities that Forbes highlights in a story about some seriously spoiled pets. — Read it at Forbes
Plus: Obese dogs can now benefit from a special elevator. It’s currently a prototype, but the manufacturer says that two companies are interested in selling the chair lift for $8,000. — Read it at the Huffington Post
While a veterinarian and animal control kept the horse calm, rescue crews worked to free the animal whose rear half was submerged in a sinkhole in North Carolina. — Read it at WAVY
Starting Wednesday, the U.S. government will require ranchers to obtain permits allowing people to hunt the dama gazelle and two other antelopes that are native to Africa on their properties. The move gives the animals full protection under the Endangered Species Act. Ranchers are upset by the requirement, saying the government's efforts have led to a rise in the antelopes’ population. — Read it at AP via Boston.com
After less than two months, officials pulled the plug on what was supposed to be a yearlong trial for a dog beach in Southern California. Opponents said the beach was “out of control,” while supporters argued that it was cleaner than the beach had ever been. — Read it at the Contra Costa Times
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