Pet Scoop: Ringling Bros. Elephants to Retire Early, Penguin Chick Named for David Bowie

Jan. 12, 2016: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Ringling Bros. circus elephants
Ringling Bros. elephants wait outside an arena in Miami on Jan. 8. The elephants will retire by May.

Circus’ Last 11 Elephants to Retire

The “Greatest Show on Earth” is giving up some of its largest performers 18 months earlier than promised. Feld Entertainment, which owns the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, announced last year that it would phase out its Asian elephants and move them to its 200-acre conservation center in Florida by 2018. Now, it says its last 11 elephant performers will retire by May of this year. The company said the early retirement comes because more cities have put restrictions on housing, restraining and transporting the elephants. Animal activists have called for an end to the elephants’ circus acts for years. After Monday’s announcement, some said they still questioned the company’s treatment of other animals, including big cats. — Read it at The New York Times

Penguin Chick Named for David Bowie

When a tiny, fuzzy blue fairy penguin chick hatched Friday, staff at the Cincinnati Zoo decided to name it Bowie, because it was born on performer David Bowie’s 69th birthday. Two days later, the chick’s name took on new significance when the actor and musician lost his private battle with cancer, stunning fans all over the world. Now, the little bird is getting lots of extra attention. A spokeswoman for the zoo even said keepers have started playing David Bowie’s music for Bowie. — Read it at People Pets

Dog Owner Falls Through Ice in New York

Police officers in water suits had to come to the rescue of a 56-year-old man who fell through the ice on a Long Island, New York, pond when he tried to chase after his dog Saturday. The man had been playing with his two Jack Russell Terriers in a nearby park when one of them, Dena, ran out onto the frozen pond. But when the owner tried to retrieve the dog, the ice cracked beneath him and he fell into chest-deep, frigid water. He was in the water for about half an hour before being pulled to safety, and was taken to a hospital to be treated for hypothermia. Dena, meanwhile, was able to walk off the ice on her own. — See photos at the New York Daily News and get tips on how to keep your dog safe around ice

After being on the run for 559 days in Vermont, Murphy was safely captured Saturday.
After being on the run for 559 days in Vermont, Murphy was safely captured Saturday.

Dog Captured After 559 Days

Murphy, a Golden Retriever, has been missing since his owner had a bad car accident in Vermont on June 29, 2014. The spooked dog got out of the car and ran off, and has been missing ever since. Murphy spent the next 559 days avoiding the efforts of dozens of dedicated volunteers to capture him. Finally, on Saturday night, the nearly 5-year-old dog wandered into a backyard cage that was meant for him, and was reunited with his owner, Kirstin Campbell. "I think he just had his little adventure, and I don't know why he decided now was the time (to be captured), but I'm glad he did!" Campbell said. — Watch it at NECN

Volunteers Needed to Snuggle Goats

Here’s a volunteer job you’re sure to get a lot out of: four-shifts snuggling baby goats. A farm in Albermarle County, Virginia, is expecting about 90 kids to be born by the middle of February — and they need some help keeping the babies warm until at least March. The goats will have heaters in their pens and small sweaters to wear, but volunteers are needed to cuddle them and bottle feed them while their moms are milked to make goat cheese. — Watch it at Virginia’s NBC 29


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