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WebClawer: Taco Bell owes chihuahua ad creators, 111-year-old tuatara reptile becomes a dad

January 27, 2009 | 12:59 pm

Taco Bell chihuahua

From Ventura to the U.K. to New Zealand, animals are making news all over the world. Here are the stories we found most fascinating today:

-- The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that Taco Bell must pay $42 million to the creators of its once-ubiquitous "!Yo quiero Taco Bell!" advertising campaign.  A jury found that the chihuahua campaign's creators weren't properly compensated for their work in 2003, but Taco Bell countersued advertising agency TBWA Chiat/Day, arguing that the fault for underpaying the creators was the agency's and not Taco Bell's.  (USA Today)

-- Ventura's Cemetery Memorial Park is a favorite hangout for local dogs and their owners, but many Ventura residents would like to see an end to that trend. The park was, as its name suggests, originally a cemetery until city officials decided to turn it into a park more than 40 years ago.  "A man's grave is something that should be respected. It's holy ground ... And when they turned it into a dog toilet -- that really gets under my skin," said Steve Schleder, one of the most vocal supporters of turning the park to a fenced-off cemetery once more.  (L.A. Times)

-- Academy Award-winning actress Anjelica Huston has asked director Stephen Sommers to use computer-generated apes instead of real ape actors in his upcoming "Tarzan" movie.  Huston writes, "Critics lauded 'King Kong' in particular for the emotional depth that the giant ape displayed — without any real apes suffering in the process ... Can I please hear that you similarly plan to use only creative alternatives to great apes in 'Tarzan'?"  (Entertainment Weekly)

-- Max, a Springer spaniel "sniffer dog" who spent his career assisting British drug enforcement officers, may have died as a result of cocaine-induced nasal cancer.  "It is ironic that the wonderful organ that made him successful in his work has been his demise," said Max's handler, Inspector Anne Higgins.  (Metro UK)

-- A male tuatara (a rare reptile resembling a lizard that's native to New Zealand) named Henry has become a father at age 111. Mildred, the mother of Henry's 11 offspring, is 80.  (BBC News)

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Los Angeles Times

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