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2013 top animal stories in Glendale, Burbank

Rescued creatures large and small contributed to the year’s headlines.  

Cat resuscitated after fire


A 12-year-old cat that was resuscitated by Glendale firefighters during an apartment fire in February was adopted from the Pasadena Humane Society after its former owners, who were contacted, according to fire officials, did not come forward to take it.

The black cat with golden eyes, named Glinda, was brought back to life after firefighters administered oxygen atop a nearby car. She was saved from a blaze at the Fort Dearborn Home complex in the 400 block of West Doran Street.


The cat recuperated in an oxygen chamber and was taken care of by the Pasadena Humane Society until she was adopted.

Race horse rescued

In August, a Glendale horse rescue found a home for a former race horse that won hundreds of thousands of dollars on the track but sold for just $30 at an auction.

The horse, Silver Ray, moved to a retirement home for thoroughbred horses in Kentucky, called Old Friends, after being fed and pampered at Polo Pony Rescue in the Riverside-Rancho neighborhood.


Glendale clips cat books

The Glendale Central Library decommissioned its cat-memorabilia collection this year, which at its height, was once the largest in the nation. The library placed the books in storage and is considering different options for their disposal.

At one point, the collection included more than 4,000 cat-related books and other items, including cat magazines, photographs and calendars.

The collection began in the mid-1960s when the founders of the now-defunct Jewel City Cat Club — Sidney Roberta Billig and her husband, Dr. Harvey Billig — donated about 150 books.


The collection grew as the cat club continued to funnel donated items and the library purchased books to supplement it. And the library wasn’t picky about titles. If it had “cat” in the title, it would likely take it.

The research collection fizzled, though, as people stopped calling and coming in for cat information, mostly about breeding, with the advent of the Internet.

Meatball tiff

The San Diego County animal sanctuary that took in “Meatball” the Glendale bear banned the woman who turned him into a social media darling from visiting the bear on their property in October because she refused to sign away all legal claims she had to the bear’s name.

The woman, Glendale resident Sarah Aujero, had started a Twitter account for Meatball long before the sanctuary — Lions, Tigers and Bears — took in the black bear in August 2012.

The bear had made multiple visits to Glendale neighborhoods in 2012, at one point eating Costco meatballs from a garage refrigerator, inspiring Aujero to nickname him Meatball. She acted as a cheeky bear on Twitter to increase public awareness of wildlife.

Her social media work helped save the bear’s life as the California Department of Public Health typically kills habituated animals who visit neighborhoods, but Meatball’s popularity presented him with a different fate.

He was then moved to Lions, Tigers & Bears, a sanctuary in Alpine. A year later, both Aujero and Lions, Tigers & Bears wanted to release children’s books about the bear, both promising to raise money for the sanctuary.

Aujero had legal claims to her intellectual property, including the bear’s name, through copyrights and trademarks, which she created last year in order to protect the bear from being used for personal gain.

She told the sanctuary owners they could use the name for fundraising efforts in October, but their attorneys asked her to sign a contract turning over all legal rights to Meatball’s name to the sanctuary and handing over her Twitter account.

In a statement, Lions, Tigers & Bears founder Bobbi Brink said that after Aujero refused to relinquish rights to the bear’s name, attorneys for the sanctuary advised that they “ask her not [to] enter the property.”

Lions, Tigers & Bears’ owners said they believe by holding onto the legal claims to the bear’s name, Aujero is exploiting the animal, but Aujero said she feels as if Lions, Tigers & Bears is bullying her.

100 Mules

One hundred mules walked from Brand Park to the L.A. Equestrian Center in Burbank in November, the final leg of a 240-mile journey along the Los Angeles Aqueduct to celebrate the water system’s 100th anniversary.

The trek was a so-called “artist’s action” by artist Lauren Bon and the Los Angeles-based Metabolic Studio. Hundreds of people gathered at Brand Park to see the animals off.

The mules wore blue-and-white signs that read “100" across the sides of their mid-sections, and American flags that were attached in between the signs and appeared to sprout out of their backs. Some also carried plants and solar panels.


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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