Pet Scoop: Fireworks Spook Police Dog, Artist Photographs Out-of-Luck Shelter Pups

July 6, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Ivo, a police dog, was safely returned to his handler after being spooked by July 4th fireworks.
Ivo the police dog was returned to his handler after being frightened by July 4th fireworks.

Holiday Fireworks Scare a Normally Tough Police Dog

Fireworks frighten a lot of dogs — and this police dog is no different. Ivo, a 72-pound German Shepherd Dog, was in the backyard of a home he was visiting with his handler on July 4th when an illegal firecracker went off. Before his handler could stop him, Ivo jumped a six-foot fence and bolted. The Roseville, Calif., police department warned people not to try and catch the 5-year-old dog, who wasn’t wearing tags. Luckily, a couple who lives about two miles from where he escaped found Ivo and brought him to a shelter on Thursday morning. — Read it at Fox 40 Sacramento

Pandas Take Over Trafalgar Square

To promote Panda Awareness Week, 108 people donned panda costumes and gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square, signifying the number of pandas living at a special breeding center in China’s Chengdu base. The group also visited schools to raise awareness about the endangered species. — Watch it at Sky News

Man Charged With Insurance Fraud Over Fictitious Cat

A Tacoma, Wash., man is facing attempted theft and felony insurance fraud charges after he tried to collect a $20,000 insurance payment for a cat that he claimed had died in a traffic accident. According to the state's insurance commissioner, he never had the cat. The insurance company did a Google search and found that the photos the man had submitted of his pet were all over the web — and they were of two different cats. “We’ve handled some pretty unusual fraud cases, but this is one of the stranger ones,” said the insurance commissioner. — Read it at the Seattle Times

Photographer Tou Chih-kang captures the last moments of a dog in Taiwan.
Photographer Tou Chih-kang focuses on taking portraits of dogs in Taiwan before they're put down.

Photographer Captures Shelter Dogs’ Last Moments

In a heartbreaking series of pictures, a photographer in Taiwan has taken portraits of some 400 dogs just before they were put down. “I hope these images will arouse the viewers to contemplate and feel for these unfortunate lives, and understand the inhumanity we the society are putting them through,” said Tou Chih-kang, who is preparing to show the work at a full-scale exhibit in Taiwan this summer. — Read it from the AP, and watch it at USA Today

Piglet and Parrot Are Best Buddies

Xena, a 5-month-old mini piglet, doesn't fly, but that hasn't stopped her from becoming BFFs with Jazz, a 16-month-old parrot. "Xena is the wild one, she loves to chase Jazz around the house,” says their Australian owner. — See a photo of the unlikely pals at People Pets

Country Singer Emmylou Harris Is Also a Star in Animals' Eyes

Emmylou Harris, a 12-time Grammy recipient, is also a winner when it comes to animals. She’s turned her Nashville estate into a rescue for unwanted pets, and she recently wrote a song about Bella, a black Lab who was in dire straights before Harris fell in love with her. — Watch it at Today

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