Pet Scoop: Soldier Battles for Dog His Ex Sold, Taylor Swift Gets a New Kitten

June 19, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Soldier Robert Gabbert with his dog Baxter.
Soldier Robert Gabbert with his dog Baxter.

Deployed Soldier May Get Dog Back

Robert Gabbert is deployed in Afghanistan but is fighting a battle back home in Colorado — to get his beloved dog back. The soldier says he left the 3-year-old Shiba Inu named Baxter with his former girlfriend when he left for Afghanistan in March, and she then sold the dog without permission on Craigslist. When Gabbert found out, he posted a pleading note on Craigslist saying he was looking for the person who bought Baxter and would “pay anything to get him back.” After the note went viral, Gabbert’s family tracked down the family who bought Baxter — but they were reluctant to give the dog back, saying their children have become attached to him. Nancy Wallace, a member of a group fighting to bring Baxter home, says they’ve raised $1,400 to give the family in exchange for the dog and that they’ve agreed to return him. Meanwhile, the non-profit Colorado Shiba Inu Rescue has offered to find a new Shiba Inu puppy for the family who’d bought Baxter to adopt. Gabbert is still on deployment. — Read it at ABC News

Fish-Eating Spiders Found on Six Continents

A new study finds that eight of the 109 arachnid families in the world catch and eat small fish. Some of them can even capture fish that weigh five times their own body weight. Researchers also found that these spiders live on every continent but Antarctica, making the practice more widespread than experts had thought it was. Fish-eating spiders tend to live in ponds and wetlands, and hunt for their food rather than using a web to catch it. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at National Geographic

Mayor Resigns After Tossing Dog Poop Bag

Dennis Kneier has resigned as mayor of San Marino, California, after surveillance video captured him tossing a small bag of dog poop into his neighbor’s yard on June 7. He told city council members that it was a “lapse in judgment” that had caused embarrassment in the affluent town. He will remain on the city council until his term ends. Kneier’s neighbor, Philip Lao, refused to accept a letter of apology from the mayor. He said he believed the act was retribution for putting a “No Poop Zone” sign outside his house and publicly opposing a proposed dog park. — Read it at the Los Angeles Times

Singer Taylor Swift posted this photo of herself with her kitten Oliva Benson on Instagram.
Singer Taylor Swift posted this photo of herself with her kitten Oliva Benson on Instagram.

Taylor Swift Introduces Kitten

The country singer, whose Scottish Fold Meredith is already an Internet star, revealed Wednesday that she has a new kitty in her life. Swift shared a photo on Instagram of herself holding a small kitten in her lap with the caption, “Meet Olivia Benson.” The kitten is named for Mariska Hargitay's character on “Law and Order: S.V.U.,” which Swift has said is one of her favorite shows. Meredith was also named after one of Swift’s favorite TV characters, Meredith Grey, who’s played by Ellen Pompeo on “Grey’s Anatomy.” According to Tweets she’s been sending out, big sister Meredith — who’s been known to crave attention from Swift — isn’t thrilled with the new girl. "Love me too pls," she Tweeted with a crying cat emoji after fans started professing their love for Olivia. — Read it at Us Weekly 

Adorable Wolf Pup Rescued

Wolves might be better known for their howling, but Nikai, a new addition at the Wolf Conservation Center in New York, appears in an irresistible video where he hiccups. The cute pup is 9 weeks old and will become part of the center’s Ambassador Pack, which aims to educate the public about the plight of wolves in the wild. — Read it at the Huffington Post

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