MASON, Ohio — Police say an Ohio man has been charged with a misdemeanor for barking at a police dog.
A police report says 25-year-old Ryan James Stephens was charged with teasing a police dog in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason.
Officer Bradley Walker wrote that he heard the K9 unit dog barking uncontrollably inside his patrol car while he was investigating a traffic accident at a pub early Sunday morning. Walker says Stephens was making barking noises and hissing at the animal.
Walker reported that Stephens, when asked why he was harassing the animal, said, "The dog started it." The officer said Stephens appeared to be highly intoxicated.
Stephens could not be reached for comment. He is to appear April 21 in municipal court.
NEW YORK — A poisonous cobra has vanished from an enclosure outside public view at the Bronx Zoo, and its Reptile House remained closed Sunday as a precaution while zoo workers searched for the reptile.
Though the roughly 20-inch-long Egyptian cobra -- a highly venomous species of snake -- has been unaccounted for since Friday afternoon, zoo officials say they're confident it hasn't gone far and isn't in a public area. Its enclosure was in an isolation area not open to visitors.
"To understand the situation, you have to understand snakes," zoo Director Jim Breheny said in an email Sunday.
The animals seek out confined spaces, so this one has doubtless hidden in a place it feels safe, he said.
Once the snake gets hungry or thirsty enough to leave its hiding place, workers will have their best opportunity to recover it, Breheny said.
Tibetan mastiffs, a breed of dog whose original purpose was guarding livestock in the Himalayan mountains, have a new and seemingly unlikely occupation: status symbol.
Owning one of the large working dogs has become a way for the wealthiest residents of China to demonstrate their financial success, much like fancy cars and couture clothing are symbols of wealth in the U.S. Now, a red Tibetan mastiff named Hong Dong (translation: "Big Splash") has become the world's most expensive pet. Hong Dong's breeder sold the 11-month-old, 180-pound male dog to a Chinese businessman for the princely sum of $1.5 million, CBS News reports.
According to the breeder, Lu Liang, the astronomical cost for Hong Dong was not unreasonable. "We have spent a lot of money raising this dog, and we have the salaries of plenty of staff to pay," the U.K.'s Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
The Tibetan mastiff became part of the American Kennel Club's Working group in 2006, but even after receiving official AKC recognition, the breed remains relatively rare in the U.S. It ranked 124th out of 167 on the AKC's list of most popular breeds, determined by registration statistics, in 2010.
According to its national breed club, the Tibetan mastiff is "a highly intelligent breed [that] has the ability to adapt to a variety of functions, but it is a breed [that] has been making its own decisions for thousands of years" and can be difficult to train because of their natural independence.
AMHERST, Va. — A woman turned a few heads when she walked into a rural Virginia courthouse with a tiny monkey clad in a pink-and-white dress tucked in her bra.
The woman brought the palm-sized marmoset to Amherst County Courthouse on Thursday for a hearing in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. Officials apparently didn't notice the monkey until the woman went to an office to complete some paperwork.
In an interview with The News & Advance of Lynchburg, the woman says the marmoset is 7 weeks old and requires constant attention.
The woman tells the newspaper she bought the animal on an online auction site and had its clothes specially made in West Virginia.
Charo says she has a beef with her neighbors. The Spanish-American guitarist and entertainer says she had to give up her pet bull after a neighbor in Beverly Hills, Calif., complained about the smell of its feces.
Charo says she adopted the bull calf after they filmed an anti-bullfighting video together for the animal rights group PETA in 2009. Now that the bull has grown, she says, "Beverly Hills people complain" about the aroma.
A Beverly Hills spokeswoman confirms that officials advised a resident that livestock isn't allowed in the city.
Charo says the bull is named Manolo. She says it lives at a Malibu horse farm but is still allowed to visit her.
The entertainer appears in the SiTV series "Latino 101." She just released the single "Sexy Sexy."
It's a strange one, and it involves Justin Bieber's hair.
Allow us to explain. After the recent premiere of his new movie "Never Say Never 3D," the teen star cut his famous hair and gave it to DeGeneres to auction on eBay, our colleagues at The Times' celebrity news blog Ministry of Gossip report. (The winning bidder, who hasn't been identified publicly, also gets to meet Bieber the next time he appears on DeGeneres' talk show.)
Bieber's hair brought in a staggering $40,668 in the auction, proceeds from which will benefit local farm-animal rescue charity the Gentle Barn. The charity, which houses more than 100 rescued farm animals at its Santa Clarita sanctuary facility, has been featured on DeGeneres' show and is a favorite charity of the comedian and her wife, Portia De Rossi.
DeGeneres and De Rossi are both longtime supporters of animal-friendly causes; De Rossi has been a spokesperson for the feral-cat advocacy group Alley Cat Allies. Bieber is no slouch in the animal-loving department, either; he recently partnered with PETA's youth division, PETA2, on a campaign to promote companion animal adoption.
Firefighters say they have removed a 5-foot-long alligator who was hiding behind a couch after floodwaters washed it into a home in northern Brazil.
Capt. Luiz Claudio Farias of the Parauapebas city fire department says that when the floodwaters receded on Tuesday, a woman saw her 3-year-old son petting something behind the couch. It was an alligator.
He says "she snatched the boy away and called" firefighters.
Farias said Wednesday the alligator was apparently well fed. "If he was hungry he could have seriously hurt or even killed the boy."
The alligator was taken to an environmentally protected area near the city and released into a river.
KIEV, Ukraine — Workers at a Ukrainian aquarium didn't believe it when a visitor said a crocodile swallowed her phone. Then the reptile started ringing.
The accident in the eastern city of Dnipropetrovsk sounds a bit like "Peter Pan," in which a crocodile happily went "tick-tock" after gulping down an alarm clock.
But Gena, the 14-year-old croc who swallowed the phone, has hardly been living a fairy tale: He hasn't eaten or had a bowel movement in four weeks and appears depressed and in pain.
Gena noshed on the Nokia phone after Rimma Golovko dropped it in the water. She had stretched out her arm, trying to snap a photo of Gena opening his mouth, when the phone slipped.
"This should have been a very dramatic shot, but things didn't work out," she said.
Employees were skeptical when Golovko told them what happened. "But then the phone started ringing and the sound was coming from inside our Gena's stomach and we understood she wasn't lying," said Alexandra, an employee who declined to give her last name as she wasn't authorized to speak publicly.
A fox who had been shot and wounded by a hunter in Belarus wound up shooting the hunter with his own gun in a strange story reported by The Times' outdoor sports blog, Outposts.
The hunter had shot the fox from some distance away and came closer to deal a final, killing blow with the butt of his rifle. (Ugh, not a pretty picture, is it?) But before he could do so, the fox fought back.
"The animal fiercely resisted and in the struggle accidentally pulled the trigger with its paw," local media quoted a prosecutor from the Grodno region of Belarus as saying.
The fox escaped after the incident; the hunter received a leg wound and was taken to a hospital.
According to Reuters, fox hunting is a common pastime in Grodno, which is situated on the western edge of Belarus near the country's borders with Poland and Lithuania. Wolves and raccoon dogs are also hunted throughout much of Belarus.