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Feb. 27, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Firefighters in Toronto pulled Benny, a 4-year-old Wheaten Terrier, from a 5-foot-deep hole in his backyard on Friday. The little dog had been missing since Tuesday, and was found trapped in an opening to an old septic tank. The tank had been sealed, but erosion from the weather reopened the hole. Using a GoPro camera on a pole, firefighters could see Benny in the small space, covered in mud and exhausted from his ordeal. During the three-hour rescue operation, they were able to lure him out with food and a squeaky toy. On Wednesday, after Benny had had time to rest and have a bath, his owner, Audrey Fantauzzi, brought him to visit his rescuers at the fire station. “For a dog, I didn’t really think they would work this hard,” a grateful Fantauzzi said. — Watch it at CTV News Toronto
The sunshine state already faces threats from invasive Burmese pythons and anacondas. Now, Florida Fish and Wildlife authorities say its native species are becoming prey for 4-foot-long tegu lizards in Hillsborough County, in the Tampa area. They’ve had more than 100 sightings of the black and white lizards from South America. "People need to be responsible pet owners and do their research and make the right choice when getting an exotic animal as a pet," said Steven Johnson of the University of Florida's Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. "And they should never release unwanted pets into the wild." — Read it at the Orlando Sentinel
For International Polar Bear Day, Google has released rare imagery of polar bears in and around Churchill, Manitoba, in Canada. Google worked with the conservation group Polar Bears International to create the Street View maps, which will serve as a baseline view to help experts to understand the impact of climate change on the animals’ habitat in the future. To create the maps, Google outfitted an all-terrain vehicle “tundra buggy” with a Street View 360-degree camera. The images show the terrain of the tundra — and curious polar bears who came up to investigate the vehicle. — See photos at CNET
Internet and movie star Lil Bub is teaming up with the ASPCA to help shelter cats who need special care — just like her. This week, she held a press conference to announce Lil Bub’s Big Fund, which will collect donations and distribute grants for animal welfare organizations to support cats who have special needs or need extra help getting adopted due to conditions such as physical deformity, birth defects, developmental disability, mobility impairment, blindness, deafness, wounds suffered from a disaster, accident, or abuse, any permanent diseases or chronic illnesses and old age. A permakitten, Bub was born with several genetic mutations. She’s toothless and her tongue adorably hangs out because of her short lower jaw. It may be hard to believe, but Bub, who’s now 2 years old, had difficulty being adopted before her owner, Mike Bridavksy, came along. Now, she’s ready to give back. — Watch it at YouTube
Despite the popularity of sites like dogshaming.com, animal behaviorists insist that what you interpret as a guilty look from your naughty dog isn’t what you think. They may put their ears back and look sad when you’re scolding them, but it’s a reaction to what you’re saying to them now rather than to the damage they may have done hours earlier. "Just get over it and remind yourself not to put temptation in the way next time," said Dr. Bonnie Beaver, a professor at Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine. — Read it from AP via ABC News
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