Pet Scoop: Dramatic Puppy Rescue in San Francisco Bay, Cat DNA Helps Convict Killer

August 15, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

A puppy nicknamed Richard Parker was saved from the San Francisco Bay.
A puppy nicknamed Richard Parker was saved from the San Francisco Bay.

Surfers, Boater Save Puppy

On Monday evening, a group of windsurfers found a giant black puppy struggling far from shore in the San Francisco Bay. Adam Cohen, who was boating home from San Francisco to Berkeley, saw the group with their sails down and motored over to see if they needed help. That’s when he saw a puppy on one of the boards. “I can’t figure out where she came from,” said Cohen. “She was in the middle of nowhere." Despite the wind and rough waters, the group managed to get the exhausted, shaking dog on board the boat to bring her to shore. Cohen brought the pup home and spent hours warming her up with his wife’s help. They’re still trying to find the owner of the dog, who they’ve nicknamed Richard Parker after the tiger on the boat in Life of Pi. But they’re committed to ensuring she has a good home. — Watch it at NBC Bay Area

British Cat DNA Database Helps Convict Killer

The University of Leicester in the U.K. said Wednesday that its database of feline DNA is being credited with helping to convict a man of manslaughter. "This is the first time cat DNA has been used in a criminal trial in the U.K.," said the university’s Jon Wetton. "This could be a real boon for forensic science, as the 10 million cats in the U.K. are unwittingly tagging the clothes and furnishings in more than a quarter of households." Investigators in the gruesome July 2012 death of David Guy on a British beach were able to match cat hair that was found on the victim to mitochondrial DNA that Wetton collected from 152 felines across England over a six-week period. "Only three of the samples obtained matched the hairs from the crime scene," Wetton said. While it wasn’t a perfect match, it was a good indication it the hair came from a cat belonging to suspect David Hilder, who was the victim’s friend. It was used along with a host of other evidence in the case. Hilder was sentenced to life in prison on July 30. — Read it from AP via USA Today

Twist in Canadian Python Case

It’s not often we have two stories involving deaths to tell you about in Pet Scoop, but this is an interesting development in the tragic story of the two boys who were thought to be strangled by a python while they slept in an apartment above an exotic pet store in Canada earlier this month. Police say they’re now treating the case as a possible murder. The twist comes after the boys’ mother posted hundreds of photos of her sons playing in her neighbor’s snake cage. Snake experts have questioned the theory that the boys were strangled while they slept. “You can’t be asleep and be bitten by a python and strangled. That’s impossible,” Johan Marais from the African Snake Bite Institute told News Limited. “You’re going to wake up instantly.” — Read it at Australia’s Fox

One of the apes involved in the research swims in a pool.
Wits University
One of the apes involved in the research swims in a pool.

Study: Apes Can Learn to Swim

For many years, it was thought that apes were afraid of water and couldn’t swim. But now, for the first time, two researchers have documented a chimpanzee and an orangutan swimming and diving. Renato Bender of Wits University in South Africa and Nicole Bender of the University of Bern in Switzerland observed that the two, who were raised by humans, used a modified breaststroke, rather than the dog paddle that’s used by most terrestrial mammals. Cooper, a young chimp, surprised the researchers by going past a rope line to dive in the deep end of a pool. “'It was very surprising behavior for an animal that is thought to be very afraid of water,” said Bender. Suryia, an orangutan that lives in a private zoo in South Carolina, was able to swim 39 feet without help. Their findings were published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.— Read it at the International Business Times

Police Officer Rescues Dog After Car Wreck

What a week for animal-loving police officers! First, we told you about the Florida police officer who rescued 100 wayward sea turtle hatchlings. Then, there was the sweet story of the sheriff's deputy in Washington state who adopted a puppy who was dumped on a roadside. Now comes the story of Nick Ague, a Pennsylvania patrol officer. On Sunday, Ague heard over the radio that two dogs involved in a car accident had run off, and went to help. While one was found quickly, Mya, a German Shepherd, kept running when the police would stop their patrol cars to try to rescue her. After 2 miles, the dog had injured her paws from running and couldn’t walk, so Ague picked up the 75-pound dog and carried her to her owner’s car. Ague’s fellow police officers shared the photo on Facebook, and it quickly went viral. “I tried to right any wrong and do what I hoped someone would do for me," said Ague, who has a German Shepherd himself. — Watch it at ABC News

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