TIME animals

And Now, The 10 Most Bizarre Dog and Cat Names of 2014

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Unfortunately not named Peanut Wigglebutt Getty Images

Peanut Wigglebutt for the win

Veterinary Pet Insurance has released its annual ranking of the most bizarre dog and cat names in its database, which leads with Peanut Wigglebutt and Snuggles Butt Le Lee, respectively — thus proving once and for all that both dogs and cats have notable butts and that the collective human race has the sense of humor of a five year old.

Below are the top 10 monikers, chosen by a public vote, and the full list of 50 crazy, yet endearing, pet names can be found here. (How did Waffle Dots beat Brutus Pancakes out of the Top 10? How?!)

Dogs:

  1. Peanut Wigglebutt
  2. Sir Hog Knucklehead
  3. Sasha Biggiepotamus Fierce
  4. Otto Von Longdog
  5. Zippity Do Dawg
  6. Airbubble McMuffin
  7. Hamburger Patty
  8. Angus T Brackencrack
  9. Mister Buddy Pickles
  10. Waffle Dots

Cats:

  1. Snuggles Butt Le Lee
  2. Count Flufferton
  3. Katy Purry
  4. Walter Croncat
  5. Joey Banana Pants
  6. Felix Thunder Paws
  7. Nuttykitty
  8. Senor Meow
  9. Sassy Brat Kat
  10. Purrscilla

You’re welcome.

(h/t TODAY)

TIME animals

9 of the Cutest Dogs All Dressed Up as Superheroes for Comic-Con

Clearly cosplay isn't just for humans

This year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego was truly a celebration of all things comics, all things superheros and, perhaps above all, all things beautifully weird. For many, one of the best parts of the festival is seeing the endlessly creative cosplay (short for costume play) — and while we usually think of humans participating in that, plenty of dogs got in on the fun too. Here are some of our favorite canine cosplayers:

Ollie the French Bulldog, dressed in a "Shazam" costume, sits outside of the San Diego Convention Center during the 2014 Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego
Ollie the French Bulldog, dressed in a “Shazam” costume, sits outside of the San Diego Convention Center during the 2014 Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego, California July 24, 2014. Sandy Huffaker—Reuters
Mark Shaffer walks with Chopper The Biker Dog outside of the San Diego Convention Center during the 2014 Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego
Mark Shaffer walks with Chopper The Biker Dog outside of the San Diego Convention Center during the 2014 Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego, California July 25, 2014. Sandy Huffaker—Reuters

And here, as a bonus gift to you, are two pooches from last year’s festival in San Diego — and one from Dublin:

Exploring California's San Diego County
A pomeranian dog dressed as Batman sits in a toy electric car outside Comic-Con 2013 on July 23, 2013, in San Diego. George Rose—Getty Images
Comic Con Fans Attend The Annual Convention In San Diego
Beckham the dog sports a Superman costume during Comic Con on July 19, 2013 in San Diego. Sandy Huffaker—Getty Images
Dublin Comic Con
Homer the Super Dog, one of the attendees at the Dubin Comic Con event at the National Show centre in Dublin on August 11, 2013. Niall Carso—PA Wire/Press Association Images/AP

 

TIME animals

This Dog Was So Excited to Be Reunited With Its Owner That It Passed Out

They had been apart for two years. But don't worry, the dog is fine.

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There’s little doubt that people love their pets, after all, you don’t spend $56 billion on animals you just barely tolerate. While companion animals can’t show their love financially (Grumpy Cat nothwithstanding), it’s pretty clear that pets love their people, too. Take for example, Rebecca Ehalt’s reunion with her beloved Schnauzer, which she uploaded to YouTube. This dog was so happy to be reunited with his human friend, that it passed out from joy.

According to the YouTube posting, Ehalt had been gone for two years — that’s 14 dog years! – and the family pet just couldn’t contain all the feelings coursing through its little four-legged body and ended up shrieking in happiness until it keeled over. Don’t worry, though, the pup was taken to a vet who gave the dog a clean bill of health.

MORE: This Website Knows Where Your Cat Lives

MORE: Machine, and It Will Dispense Food for Stray Dogs

TIME animals

This Website Knows Where Your Cat Lives

I Know Where Your Cat Lives
Getty Images

Purrfect for the Internet's cat lovers

Attention all 4.9 million users of the #Catstagram hashtag: You’re being watched. Same for the #RichCatsOfInstagram pictures and the 16 million photos tagged simply #Cats on Instagram.

Mashable points out that a new data visualization project called “I Know Where Your Cat Lives” is trolling the internet and collecting metadata in your #adorable #cat #picture. Using the geotags embedded in the metadata in public photos, the project collects the information and puts the cat’s location on a map perfect for cyberstalking your fuzzy feline friend. Thank goodness cats don’t read Orwell.

The site features cats from everywhere around the globe — a giant red tom in Chiba, Japan to a grey fuzzball kitten in Apulia, Italy to a kitten cuddled with his mom in Queensland, Australia — all available for gawking at and cooing over at the click of a button.

The project was created by Florida State University art professor Owen Mundy, who views “I Know Where Your Cat Lives” as both a thought-provoking experiment into how we view online privacy, as well as a sort of Tinder for cat fans filled with a seemingly endless stream of kitten pics for the millions of cat fans who populate the Internet.

The site is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund web hosting and continuing the project.

MORE: The Hottest New Exercise Equipment Is a Giant Hamster Wheel…for Cats

MORE: There’s Now Facial Recognition Software for Cats

TIME animals

You’ll Never Know Joy Like This Crab Chowing Down on a Plate of Noodles

He basically dances as he eats

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You probably never thought of crabs as cute creatures, which is really quite understandable, but this video could potentially alter your views. Watch as this pet crab just goes to TOWN on a big ol’ plate of Korean noodles. He really seems to appreciate every bite. Maybe we could all learn something from him about appreciating what we have and savoring every moment of our lives.

(h/t First We Feast)

TIME animals

This Dog Surfing Competition is Totally Gnarly

Get ready for some ruff waves

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What’s cooler than surfing? Surfing with your dog. And not just riding the same board as your pet, but pushing your pup to ride a wave on their own. That’s what the dogs in Unleashed, the largest dog surfing competition the U.S., do, and they rock at it.

Hanging 20, the dogs perch on top of the boards as the waves sweep toward the beach. When the wave collapses, the canine surfers hop off, no harm done (some are wearing adorable life jackets, just in case).

But are the dogs scared to go on the surfboards? Are their owners forcing them into unwanted roles as surf bros? Eric Felland, owner of the champion of the large dog heat, tells The Guardian that his dog “loves what he does.” Fellow owner James Wall says “it’s hard to say it’s cruel; some dogs like it some dogs don’t.” One thing’s for sure—it’s great for everyone watching.

TIME animals

Meet Peanut, the Ugliest Dog in the World

The 2-year-old rescue dog won the official title of World's Ugliest Dog this week, but his owner loves him just the way he is

He’s got a face only a mother could love: Peanut, a rescue dog with unknown breed origins, was crowned the World’s Ugliest Dog at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif., earlier this week.

The dog’s owner, Holly Chandler of Greenville, N.C., says 2-year-old Peanut is a victim of animal abuse and was injured in a fire, though he’s healthy now, CBS reports.

“He doesn’t have lips anymore,” Chandler says. “His eyelids are also gone, and so he can’t close his eyes, so therefore his eyes water. The tears drain into his nose and so he has nice little snot bubbles because of it. So it’s great, that adds to his character.”

Chandler plans to use the $1,500 prize money to help pay for other pets’ veterinary bills and hopes Peanut’s big win will call attention to animal abuse, the Associated Press reports.

“He’s my baby,” she said. “I guess I don’t see him every day as being that ugly. But I guess the judges thought so.”

[CBS]

TIME Pets

The Problem With Pit Bulls

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Pit Bull Square Dog Photography—Getty Images/Flickr Select

It's horrible that KFC kicked out that 3-year-old girl, but let's focus on the real problem: pit bulls were bred to be violent

The social media universe became furious at KFC this week after an employee reportedly asked a 3-year-old victim of a dog attack to leave one of their restaurants because “her face is disrupting our customers.”

Read a response to this piece from the American Pit Bull Foundation.

But it wasn’t KFC employees who broke down the door to Victoria Wilcher’s grandfather’s house and mauled the toddler until half her face was paralyzed and she lost the use of one of her eyes. Three pit bulls did that.

Pit bulls make up only 6% of the dog population, but they’re responsible for 68% of dog attacks and 52% of dog-related deaths since 1982, according to research compiled by Merritt Clifton, editor of Animals 24-7, an animal-news organization that focuses on humane work and animal-cruelty prevention.

Clifton himself has been twice attacked by dogs (one pit bull), and part of his work involves logging fatal and disfiguring attacks. Clifton says that for the 32 years he’s been recording, there has never been a year when pit bulls have accounted for less than half of all attacks. A CDC report on dog-bite fatalities from 1978 to 1998 confirms that pit bulls are responsible for more deaths than any other breed, but the CDC no longer collects breed-specific information.

Another report published in the April 2011 issue of Annals of Surgery found that one person is killed by a pit bull every 14 days, two people are injured by a pit bull every day, and young children are especially at risk. The report concludes that “these breeds should be regulated in the same way in which other dangerous species, such as leopards, are regulated.” That report was shared with TIME by PETA, the world’s largest animal-rights organization.

The little girl’s grandfather shot and killed the three dogs that attacked her, and both he and his girlfriend are facing child-endangerment charges. KFC has donated $30,000 to the girl’s family to help with her medical bills, and more money keeps flooding in. But so far the outrage has been directed at the rude KFC employee, not at the growing problem of pit-bull maulings.

As pit-bull attacks become more and more common, they’re getting increasing attention on social media, but not always in support of the wounded children. In March, a Facebook petition to save Mickey, a dangerous pit bull in Phoenix, got over 70,000 likes. Mickey was facing euthanasia for mauling 4-year-old Kevin Vincente so badly that he cracked his jaw, eye socket and cheekbone. Kevin is facing months of reconstructive surgery, but more people were concerned with saving the dog than helping the boy. Mickey’s Facebook page has now become a social-media landing page to save other dogs that are considered dangerous.

Clifton says he’s seen an unprecedented rise in dog maulings in recent years, as more pit bulls enter the shelter system. Between 1858 and 2000, there are only two recorded instances of shelter dogs killing humans. From 2000 to 2009, there were three fatal attacks involving shelter dogs (one pit bull, one breed similar to a pit bull, and one Doberman). But from 2010 to 2014, there have been 35 shelter dogs who fatally attacked humans. All but 11 were pit bulls.

Supporters say pit bulls are getting a bad rap. Sara Enos, founder and president of the American Pit Bull Foundation, said that it’s wrong to blame dog attacks on pit bulls, because it’s the owners who are to blame. “It really boils down to being responsible owners,” she said. “Any dog from any breed can be aggressive, it matters how it’s treated.” And, as TIME reported in 2013, pit-bull owners all over the country are trying to rebrand the breed, insisting pit bulls can have a softer side when treated humanely.

Many pit-bull advocacy organizations, including BAD RAP, did not want to comment for this story. But there is a growing backlash against the idea that pit bulls are more violent than other dogs. “There is not any breed of dog that is inherently more dangerous,” said Marcy Setter of the Pit Bull Rescue Center. “That’s simply not true.”

But critics say that pit bulls are inherently dangerous no matter how they’re treated, because violence is in their DNA. “Why do herding dogs herd? Why do pointing dogs point? They don’t learn that behavior, that’s selective behavior,” says Colleen Lynn, president and founder of DogsBite.org, a national dog-bite-victims group dedicated to reducing dog attacks. “Pit bulls were specifically bred to go into that pit with incredible aggression and fight.”

“Every kind of dog is neglected and abused,” Clifton agrees. “And not every kind of dog responds to the neglect and abuse by killing and injuring people.”

But there’s another root cause of the rise in pit-bull attacks, one you might not think of: Hurricane Katrina.

Pit bulls are especially popular in Louisiana and Mississippi, and many of the volunteers responding to Hurricane Katrina found themselves saving stranded dogs. Most of the pit bulls they saved had been kept inside and behaved well around the rescuers, Clifton said, because they knew their survival depended on it. The dogs who were rescued were good pit bulls, he says, and “the real badasses, the ones chained outside, were drowned.”

Clifton said that many of the volunteers, who had very little experience with dog rescue, became attached to the breed and involved in pit-bull advocacy. And that helped galvanize the pro-pit-bull movement in the wake of Michael Vick’s 2007 dogfighting scandal. That movement helped encourage more people to adopt pit bulls as lack of sterilization caused the population to grow.

“If you need a marker in your head for when pit bulls got out of control, it’s 2007 with Michael Vick,” Lynn says. Vick’s high-profile trial for dogfighting and cruelty to animals roused a growing sympathy for pit bulls, which led more people to adopt them and bring them into their homes.

Dogbites.org

“We need to get used to mauling injuries, because we’re going to be seeing a lot more of them,” warns Lynn. “Each of us will know a mauled, disfigured child by a known dangerous breed of dog. There will be one in every school.”

But what can be done about the growing number of pit bulls? Some say the best solution would be breed-specific sterilization, which would curb the pit-bull population and reduce euthanasia in shelters. Most dogs of all breeds are spayed and neutered — about 80%, by Clifton’s estimation. But only 20% of pit bulls are sterilized, partly because the population that owns pit bulls tends to resist the spay-neuter message. He notes that there are a number of free sterilization programs for pit bulls, including one run by the ASPCA, but that even the largest programs aren’t sterilizing enough pit bulls to reduce the number of shelter intakes.

Lynn agrees that breed-specific sterilization laws are the most humane and efficient way to deal with the situation and avoid having more dogs euthanized. “If you want to hit that ‘no kill’ status, you better do something about the pit-bull problem.” Pit bulls currently account for 63% of the dogs put down in shelters, but only 38% of the admissions. Lynn says that all pit bulls should be sterilized, except those that come from licensed breeders.

Even PETA, the largest animal-rights organization in the world, supports breed-specific sterilization for pit bulls. “Pit bulls are a breed-specific problem, so it seems reasonable to target them,” said Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA’s senior vice president of cruelty investigations. “The public is misled to believe that pit bulls are like any other dog. And they just aren’t.” Even the ASPCA acknowledges on its website that pit bulls are genetically different than other dogs. “Pit bulls have been bred to behave differently during a fight,” it says. “They may not give warning before becoming aggressive, and they’re less likely to back down when clashing with an opponent.”

Opponents of sterilization argue that it can be difficult to determine which dogs are pit bulls, and that breed-specific efforts are unfair to certain dogs. “When you discriminate against a breed, you’re also discriminating against good dogs as well,” Enos said. Setter of Pit Bull Rescue Central opposes breed-specific sterilization because she says it’s ineffective, because the laws don’t target irresponsible owners.

But Nachminovitch said PETA stands by breed-specific sterilization as a common-sense solution to what has become a human-safety issue. “These dogs were bred to bait bulls. They were bred to fight each other to the death,” she said. “Just because we’re an animal-rights organization doesn’t mean we’re not concerned about public safety.”

Updated: The original version of this story referred to reports that a girl who had been mauled by pitbulls had been asked to leave a KFC restaurant. KFC, which initially apologized, now says two investigations have yielded no evidence the incident actually took place.

TIME animals

Sorry New Yorkers, You Can No Longer Tattoo Your Pets

State legislature passes bill forbidding the tattooing and piercing of pets, after lawmaker spotted "gothic kittens" for sale

New York state lawmakers passed a bill on Wednesday forbidding the tattooing and piercings of pets.

Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal introduced the animal rights bill in 2011 after she discovered “gothic kittens” with tattoos and piercings for sale online, according to the New York Daily News. The proposal will now head to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to sign the law.

The bill, co-sponsored by Senator Mark Grisanti, was designed to prevent animals from unnecessary body modification, which many believe is a form of animal cruelty. The only exceptions are piercings for medical purposes and tattoos for medical or identification purposes, according to the bill’s text.

In March, photos circulated online of a dog inked by a Brooklyn tattoo artist.

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