December 29, 2011: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Snickers service dog

Iowa Man Reunited With His Pit Bull Service Dog

After Aurelia, Iowa, banned Pit Bulls, disabled former Chicago police officer James Sak was forced to give up his service dog, who’s a mix of Labrador retriever, Boxer and Pit Bull. But a federal judge came to his rescue Wednesday, granting Sak an injunction so that he and Snickers, who’s helped Sak since 2008, could be reunited. "Today I got my peace of mind back," said Sak. — Read it at Today

Man Who Was Groomed by Gorillas in Uganda Speaks Out

John J. King II, the American tourist who had an incredible encounter with a troop of Ugandan gorillas in a video that went viral this week, described his experience to National Geographic: "From their touch to this sort of sweet, musty, wild smell, I felt like I was being caressed by wild creatures. It was really more surprise than fear and mostly just exhilaration." — Read it at National Geographic

Controversy Surrounds the Arizona Humane Society

A man in Arizona brought his cat to the Humane Society for treatment of a laceration, but his 9-month-old pet was euthanized just hours later because he couldn’t afford to pay for her care — and officials at the center apparently declined to take a credit card number from his mother over the phone. The story has sparked outrage at the Arizona Humane Society, which has received a flurry of emails and posts on the group’s Facebook page. — Read it at USA Today

Porpoises Return to Play in San Francisco Bay

Harbor porpoises disappeared from the San Francisco Bay during World War II, due in part to the pollution the bay suffered following its use as a wartime port. Now researchers are trying to determine why they've returned, speculating that, after the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, the water began to improve. But it took more time for the food web to make a comeback — and for new generations of porpoises to rediscover the bay. — Read it at NPR

Cheetah the chimp

Did Cheetah of Tarzan Fame Really Die This Week?

News that Cheetah the chimpanzee, who starred in the Tarzan movies, passed away in Florida this week at the ripe age of 80 has been all over the Web. But the LA Times reports that the story isn't without controversy — it’s unclear whether there’s solid proof that this chimp was actually the one who appeared in the legendary films. — Read it at the LA Times

13-Foot Python Found in a Florida Swimming Pool

The Burmese python was captured by fire and rescue officials in south Florida and will now be used to train authorities on how to properly perform future captures. The Burmese python is among the exotic snakes that the state's lawmakers are trying to ban. — Watch it at NBC Miami

Blind Pug and Her Trusty Guide Dog Need a New Home

Earlier this year, we told you the happy story of a pair of Great Danes — a blind canine and her guide dog — who both found a new home in the U.K. Now shelter workers across the pond are trying to find a loving family for their smaller counterparts: a blind Pug and her guide dog. “Franky is extremely boisterous and playful, and Elly is very affectionate and cuddly,” said the manager of the shelter where they're staying. “He looks out for her and provides support while guiding her on walks or to food or water.” — Read it at the Daily Mail