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Tag: leo

Big mane on campus

 
Lots of sports teams call themselves Lions, but the University of North Alabama boasts the only live lion mascots in the country — two of them.

I dropped by to see them– Leo III and Una — Friday. Ace, because I didn’t want to start a roaring contest, especially after our gas station run in with the big yellow dog, stayed in the air conditioned car with my son, who, living in Florence, had seen the lions many times before.

While I was all ready to lambaste the university for keeping captive lions in this way too hot and humid (for my taste) state, I quickly saw that Leo and Una have it better than many Alabamans.

Now 7 years old,  they reside  in the climate-controlled, 12,764-square-foot George H. Carroll Lion Habitat, which was built with a waterfall, babbling streams, two observatories, private dens with skylights, beamed ceilings and a shaded area provided by a thatched roof. The habitat cost $1.3 million. Feeding and caring for the lions cost $35,000 annually, all of which, like the habitat’s construction, is covered by charitable contributions. The habitat also boasts what it describes as the “largest kitty litter box in this part of the state.”

UNA‘s live lion mascot tradition began in 1974, when then-President Dr. Robert Guillot acquired a 12-pound lion cub, Leo I, from a Knoxville zoo.

Leo I lived 14 years, becoming a locally beloved mascot, and the outpouring of support after his death led to Leo II being brought to UNA in July 1988. Leo II, who Sports Illustrated once named the second best college mascot in the country, died in 2000. 

Leo III and Una, born on November 18, 2002, were the first residents of the new habitat, which opened that year.

You can also see them via a university lioncam.

Tomorrow: Coon Dog Cemetery

To read all of Dog’s Country, click here.

Say it ain’t so, Joe

You’re may not exactly be a spring chicken if you remember this 1974 advertisement for Beautymist Pantyhose, in which a camera pans up a pair of sexy gams only to eventually come to a stop at the face of their owner — Joe Namath.

It was an unsettling little commercial, especially to one who, growing up outside of Baltimore, had chosen the rebellious and flamboyant Broadway Joe as a role model over straight arrow Johnny Unitas.

Now, Joe’s setting a disturbing example again: One of the former NFL quarterback’s dogs was declared dangerous this week in connection with the May 2008 biting of a home health aide that mistakenly stopped at Namath’s home in Florida — and that’s just one of four complaints against Namath’s dogs.

Namath, 66, appeared at a hearing Thursday in West Palm Beach to answer to charges that two of his dogs attacked people who came to his home in Tequesta, a community about 90 miles north of Miami.

His 6-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, Leo, was declared dangerous, but the case against another of Namath’s dog, a 6-year-old Weimeraner named Stella, was dropped because a witness didn’t appear, the Associated Press reported.

As a dangerous dog, Leo must now be muzzled and leashed both off and on Namath’s property. He must also have a microchip implanted and carry a special “dangerous dog designation tag” — though the latter seems to me to be a lot like those bumper stickers that read “If you can read this, you’re too damn close.”

If Leo bites someone else, he could be declared “vicious,” and euthanized, and Namath could face criminal charges, officials said. Namath had no comment on the charges.

Local animal control officials say there have been four reports of Namath’s dogs attacking people on his property since 2007, “and rumors of many more.”

A UPS driver said he was “accosted by a pack of dogs” on Namath’s property in May 2007. In February of this year, a contractor working at the home was reportedly bitten by Stella, the Weimaraner. That victim didn’t show up at this week’s hearing and the case against Stella was dropped. In August, a landscaper on Namath’s property was bitten by one of the former New York Jets dogs.

Dog refuses to leave kittens during house fire

Leo, a Jack Russell mix, is being hailed as a hero in Australia for refusing to leave the side of four kittens during a fire at the family home they shared in Melbourne.

The kittens and Leo were rescued by firefighters who revived him with oxygen and heart massage.

“Leo wouldn’t leave the kittens and it nearly cost him his life,” one firefighter said.

Work at the bank, no canoes, nor scows, scows nor polingboats.