Pet Scoop: Police K9 Saves Ambushed Partner, Students Create Prosthetic Leg for Dog

May 28, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

K9 Officer Lucas came to the rescue of his partner during an ambush.
K9 Officer Lucas came to the rescue of his partner during an ambush.

K9 Comes to His Partner’s Rescue

Lucas, a K9 officer in Mississippi, is being hailed as a hero for saving the life of his partner, sheriff’s deputy Todd Frazier. While he was working the night shift Monday, Frazier stopped to see if a man sitting alone at a rest stop on a deserted road needed help. Before he could reach the car, two other men ran out of the woods at him. “All three male subjects, including the driver, ambushed him, cut him on the forehead with a sharp object and dragged him into the woods," said Glenn Grannan, chief investigator with the Hancock County Sheriff's Office. But, luckily, Frazier had backup. During the struggle, he hit a remote device around his neck that unlocked the back door of his patrol car. Lucas, his Belgian Malinois, raced out to help Frazier. He bit one of the suspects, and all three fled. They’re still at large. Frazier suffered knife wounds and Lucas was also injured in the incident, but the partners are expected to recover. In a Facebook post Wednesday, the sheriff’s office said it had received numerous calls and messages from people concerned about Lucas. “We truly appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers,” the post said.  — Read it at CNN

Study: Chameleons Are 11 Distinct Species

Until now, scientists had considered the color-changing panther chameleon to be one species, but a new genetic analysis shows there are actually 11 species. It showed different populations in Madagascar had distinct lineages, and there was very little interbreeding between the groups. Through mathematical analyses, the researchers also found the chameleons’ subtle color patterns could predict their distinct genetic lineage. The study was published in the journal Molecular Ecology. — Read it at Live Science

Zoo Sends Rare Snails Back to Tahiti

The Detroit Zoo has been working for decades to preserve the Partula nodosa snail, one of several species driven out of their native habitat in the South Pacific by efforts to control another invasive snail species that went awry. Now, the zoo is sending 100 of the tiny endangered snails to Tahiti to help restore the species, which has become extinct in the wild. "Our efforts and successful breeding of the snails resulted in the rescue and recovery of the species," said Scott Carter, the zoo's chief life sciences officer. "Currently there are 6,000 individuals living in North American zoos, all descendants from the Detroit Zoo's original small group.” — Read it from the AP via Yahoo

A group of Ohio State engineering students tells elementary school kids about the prosthetic leg they created for Jimmy.
A group of Ohio State engineering students tells elementary school kids about the prosthetic leg they created for Jimmy.

Dog Gets New Prosthetic Leg

Engineering students from Ohio State University are working to help a 3-legged pup named Jimmy. The Cockapoo’s owner, elementary school teacher Susan Montgomery, rescued him from a puppy mill. He had to have one of his front legs amputated, so he carries a lot of weight on his other front leg, leaving him with pain. The students created a first-of-its-kid prototype prosthesis for Jimmy that will attach at his shoulder joint. “I thought, well, this is going to be a big challenge, groundbreaking — no one’s really done it before,” said Hiromi Tsuda, one of the college students. Tsuda and her fellow engineering students shared their creation with Montgomery’s young class, in the hopes of inspiring them. “It’s incredible. It truly is a gift,” said the teacher.  — Watch it at NBC News

Firefighters Revive Drowning Cat

Two Good Samaritans in England spotted a cat struggling in a river and pulled him to safety. When they found the 1- to 2-year-old cat was barely breathing, they called firefighters for help. The crew fitted the feline with a small oxygen mask made for a child, and helped him breathe normally again. The cat, who’s been named Splash, suffered from hypothermia but has since made a full recovery, and veterinarians have been trying to find his owner. The fire department is reminding residents to call them to help if they see an animal in distress, rather than risking their own lives to save the animal. Splash’s caretakers said they’re giving his owner seven days to claim him. If they don’t come forward, the RSPCA will help find him a new home. — Read it from the U.K.’s Daily Mail


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