WebClawer: Bulldog beauty contest crowns its winner, hunter gets lifetime ban, PETA vs. KFC in chicken dance battle

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From ‘beautiful’ bulldogs to fire-starting birds, the Web is full of animal news today:

-- A bulldog named Porterhouse was finally victorious in Drake University’s annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest; he’s been runner-up twice and even won the ‘Mr. Congeniality’ crown once. Victory was undoubtedly sweet for this 4-year-old, who beat 49 other bulldogs to win the title. A bulldog is the Drake University mascot, and the contest coincides with the yearly Drake Relays event. Porterhouse wore a camouflage outfit and army helmet for the festivities; other competitors were decked out in tutus, wigs and even a flower costume (Daisy Bear, right). ‘He’s handsome -- we think anyway,’ owner Erin Bell said of Porterhouse. ‘He’s got the look, I think, of the Drake bulldog.’ (Associated Press)

-- As Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown season approaches, sports columnist Bill Dwyre muses on the current state of horse racing. Many of the nation’s most famous tracks are in dire financial trouble, and recent scandals involving prominent owners and trainers have cast a pall over the upcoming running of the Kentucky Derby. (L.A. Times)

-- A hunter, Ronald Ray Jurin, was ordered to pay $50,000 in fines and penalties and sentenced to three years of federal probation for killing a bull elk without a tag authorizing him to hunt in the part of Oregon where the elk was shot. Jurin, who pleaded guilty to violating the Lacey Act, also received a lifetime ban on hunting and fishing in Oregon. But since Oregon is a member of the 31-state Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, the ban also applies to hunting and fishing in the Compact’s member states. Should he be caught hunting again, he could face imprisonment. (Outposts)


-- A fire in a Leasington, England shop caused £250,000 worth of damage; when store owner Paul Sheriff’s insurance company investigated the cause of the blaze, they found an unlikely culprit. A sparrow that had built a nest in the store’s eaves apparently used not only twigs as building material -- it also used cigarette butts. On the fateful day of the fire, it apparently dropped a lit cigarette into the building’s roof space. ‘It’s a pity, really, because I like seeing birds around the place, but to think one of these pesky sparrows took a cigarette end onto the roof and caused all this damage is amazing,’ Sheriff said. Thirty-five cigarette butts were eventually found in nests built in the eaves. (Daily Mail)

-- PETA is asking the Guinness World Records company to reject a record-setting attempt to stage the world’s largest group chicken dance. The dancestravaganza, to be performed at Florida’s Talladega Superspeedway, is sponsored by longtime PETA foe KFC. ‘In the past, Guinness has rightly stated that it will ‘not accept records based on the killing or harming of animals,’ ' Newkirk writes in a letter addressed to Guinness’ Craig Glenday. ‘I urge you to go a step further and refuse to accept any records from companies that have refused to adopt even modest humane reforms that would reduce the needless suffering of animals killed for their fast-food restaurants.’ (Ecorazzi)

-- Lindsay Barnett