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Tag: helicopter

The dog that ate Osama Bin Laden

Details are few, and there’s been no government confirmation, but that’s not stopping most major media outlets from reporting that a dog was a member of the assault team that killed Osama Bin Laden Sunday — and even prematurely pronouncing the dog a hero.

“Hero Dog Helped Snare Bin Laden,” read the headline of a story in yesterday’s Sun that called the dog “a fearless four legged hero.”

The Sun, in a report the New York Times seemed to confirm,  said an explosive-sniffing dog was strapped to one of the 79 assault team members lowered down ropes from three Black Hawk helicopters into Bin Laden’s hideout in the town of Abbottabad, Pakistan.

“Little is known about what may be the nation’s most courageous dog,” said the New York Times article. “Even its breed is the subject of intense interest, although it was likely a German shepherd or a Belgian Malinois, according to military sources.”

The rest of the Times story recounts the military’s increasing use of, and growing dependence on, dogs — primarily because of their skill in finding improvised explosive devices. But it sheds no light on the alleged dog’s involvement in the raid.

Slate, meanwhile, in a similarly speculative article, reports that a dog was along on the raid, then notes there has been no confirmation that a dog was involved in the raid:

“The special operations forces do have their own canine training program, but it’s very hush-hush. Furthermore, neither the Pentagon nor the White House is talking about the role the dog played in Sunday’s operation, and they haven’t even confirmed that a dog was involved at all.”

The news media loves a good hero dog story — and I do too, when it’s true — but before we start calling this anonymous military dog a hero we might want to have some facts, like what the dog did, and whether he (or she) was even there.

Swept away, rescued, and now reunited

That dog we showed you Saturday — the one who was rescued from atop the rubble of a home after being swept more than a mile out to sea by the tsunami in Japan?

Today she was reunited with her owner.

The reunion took place at an animal shelter in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, where the dog, named Ban, was returned to an overjoyed owner, three weeks after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan.

Ban, a two-year-old mixed breed, was plucked off the wreckage of a house drifting in the sea Friday by a Japanese helicopter rescue crew. You can see that video here. Apparently, she spent more than three weeks adrift.

The dog’s owner, whose name was not made public, saw the rescue on television and rushed to claim her pet, according to both Voice of America and the Associated Press.

Thousands of people and countless pets are still missing three weeks after the disaster, which left more than 12,000 people dead.

Dog rescued, and re-rescued, from Lake Erie

Koozie, an 8-year-old mix-breed was rescued — and then re-rescued — from icy Lake Erie in New York. Monday.

After wandering away from her owner’s home outside Buffalo, she was spotted Monday night about 30 miles away, trapped on the ice off Westfield.

An Erie County Sheriff’s Department helicopter was summoned, but the rescue effort was put off until yesterday, when a crew member was lowered in a basket and plucked Koozie from the ice.

After being brought to shore, the dog immediately trotted back out onto the ice and had to be rescued a second time by the helicopter crew, according to the Associated Press.

She was checked out by a veterinarian and returned to her owner.

3-year-old and her dog found in Arizona

A 3-year-old Arizona girl, missing for more than 15 hours, was found with her feet swollen, her body covered in dirt and scratches, and her Queensland heeler, named Blue, at her side.

Victoria Bensch, who apparently wandered away from her Cordes Lakes home while looking for her other dog, was spotted by a helicopter — about a half mile from her home, according to the Arizona Republic.

Authorities said she was lying on the ground, with her dog next to her.

Victoria, who had been the subject of a massive ground search ran throughout the night,was taken by helicopter to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. She was treated for mild frostbite on her feet.

“The dog kept her alert, warm and gave her companionship throughout a very cold night,” said Dwight D’Evelyn, spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

Rescued L.A. River dog back with family

Spikey, the German Shepherd mix who was rescued from the rain-swollen Los Angeles River last month, is back home with his owners.

After forking over $85 in fees — part of which covered installation of a microchip — the Medina family picked up Spikey when he completed his quarantine period.

The dog  made headlines nationwide when video of his dramatic rescue from the L.A. River was aired on TV stations and the Internet.

The Medina family, which has had the dog for seven years, didn’t see any of the news coverage, but a granddaughter of his owner saw video of the rescue of the dog — nicknamed Vernon while in shelter — on the Internet.

Dog rescued in L.A. river reclaimed by owners

The dog pulled from the rain-swollen Los Angeles River a week ago has been reclaimed by his owners after they recognized him in a video of the dramatic rescue on YouTube.

The dog, dubbed Vernon after he was pulled from the river by a firefighter dropped from a helicopter, is actually named Spikey. His family had searched their neighborhood in Maywood for him, but found him on the computer.

“Somebody from the family noticed that the dog was on YouTube, and that’s how we finally figured out that was the dog, ” said Ramon Medina, son of the dog’s elderly owner.

The family contacted officials at the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority on Monday to claim the dog, officials said.

“We’ve interviewed him at the animal care center, we’ve gone to his house, interviewed neighbors, verified dog license and vaccination records,” said SEAACA director of operations Captain Aaron Reyes. “Vernon went nuts when he saw him. His whole demeanor changed — like he found a long lost friend.”

Spikey will be released as early as next Tuesday, after he is cleared from his quarantine, NBC in Los Angeles reported.

Spikey’s older brother, a yellow lab named Polo, also escaped from the home last week and was found loose Saturday in the same area where Spikey was rescued. Polo is also being held in an animal control facility. Officials believe young children may have left the gates open at their grandmother’s home, allowing the dogs to escape.

“Maybe he was looking for Vernon/Spikey,” Reyes said. “We don’t know.”

Firefighters defend saving dog from river

Los Angeles authorities have responded to critics of the massive effort to save a German shepherd trapped in the Los Angeles River.

“All life is important,” fire department captain Steve Ruda said Monday.

About 50 firefighters, a helicopter and swift water rescue teams responded to assist the German shepherd stuck in the rising Los Angeles River, whose steep concrete banks kept the dog from getting out.

The dog, nicknamed Vernon after the city where he was rescued, remained in quarantine at the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority shelter in Downey, south of Los Angeles.

While the rescuers who saved the dog on Friday have been widely hailed as heroes, they have also been vilified by a few in blogs, on social networks and story comment sections, the Associated Press reported.

“You’re not going to please everybody. There’s always 10 percent, they either don’t like animals or think we are wasting taxpayer money,”  said Ruda.

Joe St. Georges, 50, the 25-year firefighting veteran who hoisted Vernon to safety, lost a fingernail and fractured a thumb when the dog bit him during the rescue, video of which was televised nationally and shown on many Internet sites.

The dog, about 4 years old and 65 pounds, was eating everything given to him and sleeping well, said Capt. Aaron Reyes, director of operations for the  shelter. If no owner shows up, Reyes said, “we do have a mile-long list of people who want him.”

If Vernon hadn’t been rescued, Reyes said, he would have likely died. “Do you just wait at the mouth of the river and wait for the carcass? Any way you slice it, that is unacceptable. They would not have been able to live that down,” Reyes said. “They made a decision and we support that decision.”