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UPS driver adopts pit bull on her route after owner dies

Katie Newhouser is a local UPS driver in Rancho Cucamonga, California, who had a special bond with a pit bull on her route named Leo.

“He would hear my truck come into the condo complex and start barking and scratching at the door to come down to the truck,” Newhouser told PupJournal. “He would love to come into the truck and go into the back to look around.”

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

In October 2016, Newhouser learned through Facebook that Leo’s owner, Tina, had died. Her son was unable to take the dog in because he is in the Marines, so Newhouser offered to foster the dog. She already had three other dogs, though, and didn’t intend on keeping Leo.

However, her personal bond with Leo proved too strong to adopt him out to someone else, so Newhouser ended up keeping him.

>> See the Facebook post here

“The whole vibe in the house changed as soon as we brought him home,” she said. “He is the biggest, most lovable dog that you will ever meet. He was instantly running around the yard with my dogs.”

There were some adjustments for Leo, the biggest of which was living life without Tina.

>> Read more trending news

“I do know that Leo missed Tina when he first got here,” Newhouser said. “He would whine at night before he would fall asleep. It was heartbreaking, really. He still does every once in a while. I know he misses her.”

Despite missing Tina, Leo loves playing and lying in the yard with Newhouser’s other dogs and has a new family who will always love him.

Florida woman's puppy stolen from car during apparent road rage incident

A woman is accused of snatching another woman's 3-month-old puppy out of her open car window Wednesday while she waited at a red light near the University of South Florida in Tampa, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

>> Read more trending news

Laura Rodriguez, 22, told police that she was driving with her sister in the passenger seat when a car cut her off in traffic as she was approaching a turning lane. At the light, a woman got out of the car and began cursing and yelling, Rodriguez told police, apparently because she wasn't driving fast enough. 

The woman then reached into a half-open window and grabbed one of the two dogs in the back seat.

"We've had puppies stolen from yards and pet stores," Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter told the Times. "but nothing else I can remember about one being taken out of a person's vehicle." 

>> RELATED: Woman finds out day too late missing dog was adopted 

Rodriguez said the 8-pound, brown Labrador retriever puppy named Bella was snatched by her leash. The other rescue dog in the back seat dropped to the floor and started barking. The car sped away, ran a red light and disappeared into the USF campus, the Times story said. Rodriguez said she tried to follow the car, which was an old gray or dark-colored sedan with a male driver, but lost it.

Rodriguez has posted photos of Bella on Facebook in hopes of finding her. "She is a very attached puppy," Rodriguez wrote on the Lost and Found Pets of Hillsborough County page. "She needs me as much as I need her."

>> RELATED: Girl's tearful plea to find missing dog answered 

Bella and her other dog were adopted when they were abandoned by their owner, Rodriguez said. She might be able to offer a reward, but she doesn't have much money, she told the Times. "I just want to have my baby back."

Anyone with information about Bella's whereabouts can call sheriff's office investigators at (813) 247-8200.

• More from the Tampa Bay Times

Woman abandons 3-month-old puppy at airport, leaves sad note

The owner of a 3-month-old puppy claims in a heartbreaking note that she had no choice but to leave her Chihuahua at the airport. 

>> Read more trending news 

Someone found the abandoned puppy, named Chewy, in the bathroom at a Las Vegas airport over the weekend with a big bruise and bump on the head, KSNV reported. 

>>READ: Chaos, mob breaks at Ft. Lauderdale airport over cancelled flights

Along with Chewy was a note, telling the story of how the woman had endured domestic abuse by her ex-boyfriend and could not afford to take the dog with her on the plane. 

“Hi! I’m Chewy! My owner was in an abusive relationship and couldn’t afford me to get on the flight,” the note read. “She didn’t want to leave me with all her heart but she has NO other option. My ex-boyfriend kicked my dog when we were fighting and he has a big knot on his head. He probably needs a vet. I love Chewy sooo much – please love and take care of him.”

Chewy was taken to a local dog rescue and is reported to be OK, according to KSNV. 

The rescue center, Connor and Millie's Dog Rescue, wrote a post on Facebook Wednesday putting Chewy up for adoption. 

“It's gonna take weeks to dig through all those loving requesters,” the post read. 

A spokesperson from Connor and Millie’s Dog Rescue said that if the owner is safe and wants to get Chewy back they “will do what ever it takes to reunite them and keep them safe.” 

“We are very cognitive of the risks involved and she would have to provide positive proof of her relationship with Chewy,” the rescue center said in a statement. 

>>Baby born on Spirit flight from Fort Lauderdale gets lifelong airline perk

Read the full story at KSNV.

Reward climbs to $10,000 after dog found buried alive dies

PETA is offering $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest of the person responsible for burying a dog that later died in Tucker, Georgia, last month, the organization said Monday.

>> Watch a news report about the dog here

A brown Chow Chow mix was found June 6 buried up to her nose, and she might have been there for several days. She was dug out and taken to receive veterinary care, but she died the next day.

The case remains unsolved. 

>> Read more trending news

The reward announced Monday doubles the previous reward of $5,000.

"Someone must know where this dog came from and who buried her alive, leaving her to suffer in terror for days," PETA Vice President Colleen O'Brien said in a statement. "PETA is urging anyone with information about this dog or her tormentor to come forward immediately before anyone else gets hurt." 

DeKalb County resident Eric Purdue found the dog on an ATV trail near Rock Mountain Boulevard and Lewis Road. It took him 30 minutes to dig her out of the tightly packed ground.

He later named the dog Lulu.

Anyone with information about who buried Lulu is asked to call DeKalb County Animal Services at 404-294-2939.

Gnocchi the cat, a big bully who likes to chomp, seeks brave adopter

A cat rescue group in California posted an honest, humorous ad for one of their more difficult to adopt cases.

Gnocchi is a gorgeous, black-and-white Maine Coon mix, according to the ad posted by the Cat House on the Kings. Rescuers say he's a big boy with a big attitude. They admit Gnocchi is a bully who likes to pick on smaller cats (which is pretty much any cat since he's so large.)

>> Read more trending news

He also likes to "chomp" and give love bites when he gets “perturbed or overstimulated.” On Facebook, the group jokes that the "Jaws" theme is appropriate for Gnocchi, "who is a great white shark masquerading as a huge black and white fluffball."

The group says he's friendly and social when he wants to be, but at all other times, "just leave him the hell alone."

Gnocchi would make an ideal “guard cat,” rescuers say, because he would “no doubt take a huge chunk out of anyone he wanted to scare off.”

As for dogs, Gnocchi would probably do just fine with "non-wimpy dogs."

For anyone brave enough to adopt an "awesome cat with more fur, size and personality than you've probably ever encountered," Gnocchi is available at the Blackstone Ave Petco Adoption Center in Fresno.

Grumpy feral cat shows softer side when introduced to kittens

Mason may forever be a feral cat when it comes to humans, but he revealed a much softer side when he was introduced to kittens.

TinyKittens founder Shelly Roche told The Dodo that while treating a colony of feral cats and having them spayed and neutered, a 10-year-old male cat was discovered to have advanced kidney disease. Instead of euthanasia, Roche took Mason into her home to allow him to live out the rest of his life comfortably.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Mason is still wary of humans, but when Roche brought home a litter of foster kittens, she decided to introduce the kittens to Mason. 

The results were captured in a Facebook video posted in May that has since gone viral. Mason immediately accepted the kittens, allowing them to climb on him and snuggle with him. Roche said she'd never seen Mason so relaxed before.

Roche continues to bring new litters of foster kittens to meet Mason.

These states have most overweight pets, research reveals

Dogs and cats in America are becoming increasingly overweight, according to a report from Banfield Pet Hospital.

Time reported that research from Banfield Pet Hospital released Tuesday shows that the number of overweight or obese pets in America is growing, and two states have the most hefty cats and dogs.

>> Read more trending news

The company, which operates close to 1,000 veterinary clinics in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, used information from 2.5 million dogs and 505,000 cats seen at Banfield Hospitals in 2016.

People reported that the ranking for the states with the most cats and dogs diagnosed as overweight both have Minnesota and Nebraska in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots. See the top 10 states in each category below.

Overweight and Obesity in  dogs per 100 cases:

  1. Minnesota: 41 of 100 dogs diagnosed as overweight
  2. Nebraska: 39 of 100 dogs diagnosed as overweight
  3. Michigan: 38 of 100 dogs diagnosed as overweight
  4. Idaho: 38 of 100 dogs diagnosed as overweight
  5. Nevada: 36 of 100 dogs diagnosed as overweight
  6. New Mexico: 34 of 100 dogs diagnosed as overweight
  7. Washington: 34 of 100 dogs diagnosed as overweight
  8. Utah: 34 of 100 dogs diagnosed as overweight
  9. Indiana: 34 of 100 dogs diagnosed as overweight
  10. Oregon: 34 of 100 dogs diagnosed as overweight

Overweight and Obesity in cats per 100 cases:

  1. Minnesota: 46 of 100 cats diagnosed as overweight
  2. Nebraska: 43 of 100 cats diagnosed as overweight
  3. Iowa: 42 of 100 cats diagnosed as overweight
  4. Idaho: 40 of 100 cats diagnosed as overweight
  5. Delaware: 39 of 100 cats diagnosed as overweight
  6. Michigan: 39 of 100 cats diagnosed as overweight
  7. Nevada: 38 of 100 cats diagnosed as overweight
  8. Kansas: 38 of 100 cats diagnosed as overweight
  9. Utah: 37 of 100 cats diagnosed as overweight
  10. New Mexico: 37 of 100 cats diagnosed as overweight

The hospital’s research found that lack of exercise, overfeeding, breed and genetics and the commonality of obesity in pets are some factors that contribute to how so many pets became overweight. 

Pet owners can manage the weight of their cats and dogs by coming up with a weight loss plan with their veterinarian, having more playtime with their pets and giving out less treats, particularly limiting human food.

More information can be found at Banfield.com.

Kitten rescued after getting stuck on the Golden Gate Bridge

If cats have nine lives, how many lives do kittens have?

An orange and white kitten is very fortunate to be alive after dodging traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge last weekend.

>> Read more trending news

California Highway Patrol received a call Sunday about a kitten running loose on the Golden Gate Bridge, according to the report on its Facebook page. Officers took one pass over the bridge and were unable to find the kitten; on a second pass, officers noticed a furry head popping out of a movable median barrier and blocked traffic to conduct a rescue operation.

The kitten was quickly freed and transported to an animal hospital for an exam and bath. The kitten had no collar or microchip, so it is unknown if he has an owner.

While a search for an owner continues, Officer Smith, one of the kitten's rescuers, offered to foster him.

The kitten has been tentatively named Bridges.

Woman used knife, tongs to perform dog's surgery at home, police say

A woman in Iowa was arrested last week on animal neglect charges after she allegedly performed surgery on her dog at home.

Sarah Diane McMenamin, 26, attempted to remove an obstruction from her dog by using a paring knife and tongs, police told KCCI.

>> Read more trending news

The dog did not survive the procedure.

McMenamin told police that she performed the procedure because she couldn't afford to pay for the surgery to be done by a veterinarian, KCCI reported. She also claimed to have been raised on a farm and to have experience in castrating pigs, police said.

Mastiff named Martha crowned world's ugliest dog

In a lighthearted contest often won by small dogs, this year's winner is a big surprise.

Martha, a 125-pound Neapolitan mastiff, was crowned World's Ugliest Dog for 2017.

The dog, described as gassy but gentle, spent much of its time on stage plopped on its side. 

The annual event took place Friday night at the Sonoma-Marin Fair.

>> Read more trending news

Handler Shirley Zindler told The Associated Press that she rescued Martha when the dog was almost blind, but her sight has been restored after several surgeries.

Martha beat out 13 other contestants vying for the ugliest dog crown, including Moe, a 16-year-old Brussels Griffon-pug mix, who came in second, and Chase, a 14-year-old Chinese Crested-Harke mix, who came in third.

A blind Chihuahua-Chinese Crested mix named Sweepee Rambo won the 2016 competition.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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