Pet Scoop: NYC Prosecutor Hires a Canine, Researchers Get Paralyzed Rats to Walk Again

June 1, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Bronksey the therapy dog works at the Staten Island, N.Y., district attorney's office.
Bronksey, a therapy dog who works for the Staten Island district attorney's office, helps to comfort victims and witnesses before they go to trial.

Therapy Dog Takes a Gig With a New York District Attorney

The Staten Island prosecutor’s office has a new staff member: Bronksey, a 2-year-old Labrador and Golden Retriever mix. Bronksey’s job is to make crime victims and witnesses feel more comfortable. Last week, the therapy dog helped a 12-year-old boy testify against a relative. “The child had a lot of anxiety. He was very nervous about testifying,” said District Attorney Daniel Donovan. “When he saw the dog, that just disappeared.” More and more prosecutors across the country are using therapy dogs, but some argue that the pups can unfairly sway a jury if they appear in court. According to The New York Times, Donovan’s office is hoping that Bronksey can sit by a victim’s feet in the witness box — out of view. — Watch it at MSNBC

Paralyzed Rats Walk Again in a “Very Exciting” Study

A study published in the journal Science reports how, with weeks of intensive neurorehabilitation that included electrical stimulation of the brain and spine, rats who'd suffered disabling blows to their spinal cords could walk as well as they did before their injuries. Although the findings don’t apply to all spinal cord injuries, “this is a very exciting study,” said Dr. Vineeta Singh, a neurologist at San Francisco General Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco. “There’s a huge potential to refine this model to mimic more humanlike conditions.” — Read it at The New York Times

Aussie Claims That a Kangaroo Stalked Her

A woman in New South Wales says that a female kangaroo broke through a fence to attack her Mastiff — and then turned on her the next day. Kirrily McWilliams was walking down her driveway to meet her daughter at the school bus when the animal charged at her, resulting in a big gash on the woman's back. "Kangaroos do attack people quite regularly if they're annoyed or too domesticated," said Jenny Stokes, a spokeswoman for Australia’s National Parks and Wildlife Service. — Read it at Today

Donna the elephant plays soccer
Donna, an Asian elephant, plays soccer at a zoo in England.

Baby Elephant Bends It Like a Pachyderm

It can be tough to maneuver a soccer ball when you have four big feet and a long trunk, but Donna, a 2-year-old Asian elephant who lives at a zoo in England, uses that to her advantage. Adolescent elephants “are very similar to young children — they like to play and run around and roughhouse,” says Lee Sambrook, the zoo’s assistant elephant curator. — See a photo and a video at People Pets

Thieves Take Off With an Animal Hospital's Beloved Bulldog Statue

Marilyn, a plastic Bulldog that sat atop the roof of a company car belonging to a Manchester, N.H., animal clinic, was stolen last weekend to the chagrin of director Dr. Deborah Kelloway. “The emergency room that we run is a sad place often, and the dog was meant to kind of at least help people feel joyful,” Dr. Kelloway told WMUR. — Read it at DVM 360

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