Best New York Animal Stories Of 2011 (PHOTOS)
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From peacocks wandering the Upper East Side to hilarious Twitter accounts sparked from a missing Cobra and partying turtles invading JFK, 2011 was quite the year for ridiculous animal stories in the city. Although we wish we could have always been chuckling at Tweets and darling French bulldogs, 2011 also had some sad animal news. Earlier this year, New Yorkers saw the passing of Jack the Cat, the feline who escaped from an American Airlines carrier, and was lost for two months only to be found with serious injuries that led to his death. Animal advocates got a big boost this year in their call for a ban against carriage horses, as the public was outraged by the news of multiple horses collapsing from alleged mistreatment. So whether you're an animal lover or just delight in year end roundups, be sure to check out our collection of the very best in New York animal stories.
Peacock Escapes Central Park Zoo
A <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/02/peacock-escapes-from-cent_n_916569.html" target="_hplink">peacock with residence</a> at the Central Park Zoo was on the loose in the concrete jungle this summer. Yep, remember that? The bird made quite the spectacle as he sat perched upon the fourth floor of Fifth Avenue, near a multi-million dollar apartment building, causing many onlookers to scratch their hands and utter "only in New York." Thankfully, the bird was safely returned. Photo: AP
Missing Bronx Cobra
Prior to peacocks running amuck on the Upper East Side, a 20-inch long, poisonous Bronx Cobra went missing in March, causing some discomfort amongst frightened New Yorkers. Luckily, a hilarious Twitter account was formed to ease us. Check out some of the cobra's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/28/the-best-of-bronx-zoo-cobra_n_841719.html#s258904&title=Bronx_Zoos_Cobra" target="_hplink">best musings</a> here.
Two months after the Bronx cobra escaped, the Bronx Zoo had another security fail when a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/11/bronx-zoo-peahen-escapes_n_860438.html#s277325&title=MJ_Willow" target="_hplink">female peacock</a> (peahen) went missing. Thankfully, the bird was found at a nearby garage, but not before sparking yet another Twitter account comically detailing its adventure.
French Bulldog Befriends Police Horse
Occupy Wall Street received an adorable visit from a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/04/french-bulldog-and-nypd-p_n_1077020.html" target="_hplink">curious French bulldog</a> who twirled his way to friendship with a police horse. As we noted back in November to nearby protestors and the NYPD, if these two can make it as friends, why can't we all? Would've been nice to avoid a scary NYPD raid!
Earlier this summer, a batch of <a href="http://news.travel.aol.com/2011/06/29/turtles-invade-jfk-airport-cause-flight-delays/" target="_hplink">150 turtles</a> caused a bit of commotion as they snarled traffic on the runway at JFK airport causing flight delays and disruption. But the best thing that sparked from their invasion? A <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/29/jfk-turtles-on-twitter_n_886977.html#s300604&title=JFKTurtles" target="_hplink">JFK Turtle Twitter</a> account! According to their tweets, the turtles had no intention in causing problems. They simply stumbled the wrong way after a night of heavy partying, of course. Here's one snapshot to recall and chuckle at.
Jack The Cat
The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/31/jack-the-cat-jfk-lost-cat_n_943071.html" target="_hplink">missing cat</a> who escaped from an American Airlines kitty carrier survived a two month long nightmare inside an airline baggage facility only to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/07/jack-the-cat-dies-after-two-months_n_1079359.html" target="_hplink">die soon</a> after from his extensive injuries early November. Look back in remembrance with Jack The Cat's <a href="https://www.facebook.com/notes/jack-the-cat-is-lost-in-aa-baggage-at-jfk/rip-jack-full-info/173003456122947" target="_hplink">Facebook Page</a> announcing his passing away.
Baby Penguins At Central Park Zoo
Twelve of the world's seventeen penguin species may be in danger of extinction, but the experts and animal heroes at the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/14/baby-penguins-central-park-zoo_n_1092907.html" target="_hplink">Central Park Zoo</a> are doing their part to fight and keep them around. We got an exclusive look into their animal husbandry efforts aimed at avoiding extinction!
Willow The Cat
Animal lovers across the country were captivated by the sweet story of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/23/willow-the-cat-is-reunite_0_n_977606.html?ref=ny-around-town" target="_hplink">Willow the cat</a>, who disappeared from her Colorado home, only to be reunited five years later with her owners, the Squires, who now reside here in the city. All thanks to a handy microchip that led to the Squire's contact information. Awwww.
Tribeca's Luxury Dog Run
The folks at the Waterfront Committee announced that Hudson River Park was gearing up for a fancy new installment with a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/28/hudson-river-park-to-get-_n_1116952.html" target="_hplink">$6.5 million luxury dog run </a>that will boast an interactive water centerpiece and "colorful pavements designed to stimulate dog's colorblind eyes." While the 99 percent may be wringing their hands, at least they can comfort themselves knowing there will be plenty of happy puppies!
NYC Carriage Horse Collapses
While the controversy surrounding New York's employment of carriage horses is nothing new, a resurgence <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/08/ban-on-carriage-horses-ga_n_1136393.html" target="_hplink">advocating their ban</a> gained even more momentum this year after several horses collapsed, one of which who died, while walking along their route. One <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/05/new-york-city-carriage-ho_n_1130501.html" target="_hplink">video </a>in particular sparked widespread anger amongst both animal advocates and the public, where a horse suddenly fell on 59th Street and bystanders struggled to help.
Violet The Hawk
The hawk who landed atop NYU's Bobst Library near Washington Square Park got its own <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/06/hawk-cam-new-york-live-video_n_858508.html" target="_hplink">NYC hawk</a> cam perched on the building's 12th floor window! The city experienced Violet's (named after the university's official color) many trials and tribulations, as the hawk hatched a baby Pip in May then suffered a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/29/violet-a-star-of-nyc-hawk_n_1118522.html" target="_hplink">serious injury</a> to her leg in November.
Puppy Mill Dogs Sold In NYC
A disturbing report revealed that nearly 4,500 dogs sold here in the city are supplied through <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/11/many-new-york-stores-sell_n_1088083.html" target="_hplink">puppy mills</a> known for their cruel and inhumane conditions. The investigation also found more than <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/11/many-new-york-stores-sell_n_1088083.html" target="_hplink">100 stores</a> who deal with such puppy mills, many which are located in the Midwest. Do your part and stand against puppy mills by signing the <a href="http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/puppy_mills/tips/what_you_can_do_stop_puppy_mills.html" target="_hplink">Humane Society's</a> pledge.