Cincinnati Zoo Giraffe Dies After Hoof Procedure ... Suffered Chronic Lameness

Cincinatti Zoo

A giraffe at the Cincinnati Zoo has died after what appears to be a bad reaction to a recent surgery done on its hooves ... which was supposed to mitigate a major health issue.

The zoo says that the male giraffe, named Kimba, passed away Sunday after it had collapsed to the ground early that morning in the zoo's giraffe barn -- where the staff had been monitoring a pregnant female giraffe who's supposed to go into labor any day now.

Cincinatti Zoo

It's unclear how exactly the giraffe ended up dying -- the Cincinnati Zoo says they're awaiting the results of a necropsy to learn more about what exactly happened -- but they note that Kimba had been dealing with complications from a surgery he had done on his hooves last week. The photo above shows Kimba getting that work done by a team of specialists.

The surgery was meant to help Kimba fight off chronic lameness in his legs -- something the zoo says he'd been experiencing since last summer ... which was causing mobility issues.

The surgery was basically a hoof trim, and based on what the doc told them ... it was supposed to make him "sound" again -- but unfortunately, it sounds like it didn't take. Kimba was 12 years old, and had sired 6 calves, including a 7th on the way now.

Cincinnati Zoo

Of course, this is the same place where Harambe the gorilla was shot and killed a few years ago after a child fell into his cage and got dragged around by the animal.

Sad news all around.

Narwhal the Rescue Puppy Scammers Trying To Profit Off Pup ... Shelter Warning Donors!!!

Exclusive
Mac's Mission

The rescue puppy with the tail-like growth coming out of his head is catching the attention of scammers looking to steal money from folks who want to help with his mounting medical bills.

Rochelle Steffen, the founder of the shelter who rescued the cute little pup, tells TMZ ... ever since Narwhal went viral, the shelter's noticed tons of fake accounts popping up on social media, ran by scammers asking people for donations. She says she's already been made aware of several scams, reporting them to Facebook and Instagram to get them shut down.

To make it easier for folks to get involved, Mac's Mission Animal Rescue in Jackson, Missouri -- where Narwhal is awaiting adoption -- set up an official donation link on its Facebook page, and it's already raised $1,950. Narwhals medical care is pretty much taken care of, so the money will go towards other current or future rescues.

Rochelle also tells us people have already sent the shelter $4,000 directly through PayPal.

PERFECTLY IMPERFECT
Rochelle Steffen/Macs Mission

To be clear ... Rochelle says the shelter is NOT looking to profit off Narwhal. She says someone offered $7,000 for the pup, but the shelter turned it down. Rochelle says Narwhal is NOT for sale, he's just up for adoption, and the application fee is $150.

But, as we first reported ... the shelter's worried some folks applying to adopt Narwhal have the wrong motivations.

So, watch out for scammers, and if you do donate through the shelter's page, know this ... 100% of donations are going to medical care for Narwhal and the other rescues in desperate need of assistance.

Aaron Carter Beefs w/ PETA ... After Mom Viciously Smacks Dog

TMZ.com

Aaron Carter's mom was caught on video brutally smacking one of his dogs ... and now the singer is at war with PETA.

Aaron is trading blows the animal org after it called out Aaron and his mother, saying, "Dogs are family -- not for IG likes. SLAPPING them or SELLING THEM for a profit when millions are homeless in shelters is cruelty."

THE AGGRESSIVE SLAP

The whole incident went down Wednesday night while Aaron was on Instagram Live as he and his mom were driving across the state. At one point, you can see the pug make its way onto the middle console from the back seat when, out of nowhere, Jane violently slaps the dog ... sending it to the backseat.

After PETA put Aaron on blast, the singer responded with an expletive-laced tirade saying, "My message is f*** you, PETA. F*** you, PETA. F*** you, PETA. Whoever is running your f***ing organizations and campaigns, you can f***ing suck my d***." Classy.

Aaron -- who was briefly hospitalized the day after the dog-slapping incident -- also threatened, "I'm gonna sue the s*** out of PETA. I'm gonna take htem for millions of dollars, and then I'm gonna give back money to a community that actually does help animals."

As you might recall ... Aaron was accused of flipping a rescue dog for money. Aaron denied the accusation.

Narwhal the Rescue Puppy Shelter's Keeping Him for Now ... Concerns Over Applications

Exclusive
Mac's Misson

The rescue puppy with the tail growing out of his head will have to wait to find a forever home, because the shelter's worried some folks applying to adopt him might have the wrong motives.

As we reported ... the undeniably cute little dog named Narwhal is "a perfectly healthy puppy, with an extra tail on his face" who was rescued by Mac's Mission Animal Rescue in Jackson, Missouri. Naturally, he's gone viral due to his unique condition.

Mac's Misson

The shelter has received hundreds of adoption applications for Narwhal, but its founder, Rochelle Steffen, tells TMZ ... she's pumping the brakes for now. She says on Wednesday alone they got more than 100 applications, which is highly unusual because they are normally lucky to get one for a "special dog."

She tells us the shelter is nervous people may be wanting to adopt Narwhal for the wrong reasons -- for instance, fame and notoriety -- and not for love of a family pet. As a result, Rochelle says they're halting the application process for at least 2 months.

PERFECTLY IMPERFECT
Rochelle Steffen/Macs Mission

Rochelle says they've never had a dog like Narwhal, so they want to keep him and let him get bigger while they monitor the tail and make sure there are no negative health effects. If all's well in 2 months, they will put him back up for adoption, but she says they'll likely add a few questions to narrow down prospective candidates.

Rochelle adds, Narwhal's been checked by a vet and she's been told there is no reason to remove the tail -- it doesn't wag and has no bone structure -- so it would be a cosmetic surgery.

That's out of the question right now because he's still so small. Besides, it would go against his very name.

Dog Boutique Store Under Investigation Amid Dog Abuse Video

Exclusive Details
THE INCIDENT
Rip Royce/Twitch

9:02 AM PT -- Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Bark n' Bitches is under investigation. We're told the City of L.A. Department of Animal Services is conducting the investigation. What's more ... sources say the LAPD's Animal Cruelty Taskforce is aware of the incident.

And, get this ... a separate complaint prior to the horrific dog-throwing incident triggered the Department's probe. It's unclear what sparked the initial investigation, but we're told the Animal Cruelty Taskforce fielded the complaint.

We've reached out to the Dept. of Animal Services ... so far, no word back.

A poor pup was violently launched across a room by her neck by an irate employee and landed on her head on a concrete floor ... and the disgusting incident was caught on video.

The vid shows several dogs running around and barking in the Bark n' Bitches Dog Boutique in L.A. when it appears one dog begins to play a little too aggressively with a smaller dog.

That's when the worker steps in and viciously grabs the larger dog by the neck, picks her up high and tosses her several feet ... to the shock and horror of others in the store.

After the throw, a sickening thud is heard as the dog hits the ground. The sound is the dog's head hitting the floor ... according to the person who first posted the video on Twitch.

Some of the people in the store go to check on the poor pooch afterward, as it hid under a nearby table.

Bark n' Bitches has responded to the horrific incident, saying ... "We will not tolerate this or any actions that put our rescues in harm's way. The appropriate actions are being taken. This is NOT what we stand for."

It added ... "The dog was playing and acting normal after this incident. She was taken to the vet and was cleared 100 percent."

The owner of the shop followed up by confirming the employee in the video has been fired and the dog is doing fine. The owner added the boutique has been in business for 14 years and "this is a first."

Hopefully, it's also a last.

Originally published -- 6:34 AM PT

Narwhal the Rescue Puppy Yes, That's a Tail Coming Outta My Head!!! (Vet Says I'm Healthy)

Rochelle Steffen/Macs Mission

No, this puppy did NOT come from the Chernobyl pound, but yes -- this is a tale of 2 tails ... including the one growing out of the doggo's forehead.

The little guy's name is Narwhal, and he's a recent rescue at Mac's Mission Animal Rescue in Jackson, Missouri. The founder of the joint, Rochelle Steffen, says prospective owners need not worry about Narwhal's extra appendage -- "He had x-rays and a vet visit (Tuesday) and is a perfectly healthy puppy, with an extra tail on his face."

She adds the foretail doesn't require surgery, and doesn't seem to be giving him any harm at the moment.

Rochelle Steffen/Macs Mission

Rochelle says her staff found Narwhal -- a Dachshund and Beagle mix, they think -- recently at a dumpsite, and took him in to help find him a forever home.

It's unclear what the growth is exactly, but it's probably a mutation that occurred at birth.

PERFECTLY IMPERFECT
Rochelle Steffen/Macs Mission

Either way, Narwhal is just as rambunctious as any other puppy -- hide your shoes -- and doesn't seem too bent about being named after a whale that has a tusk growing out of its head.

Based on how lovable and unique he is, something tells us he'll be scooped up quickly.

Who's a good boy? Who's a good boy ... with 2 tails??

Colorado's Ralphie V Live Mascot Forced To Retire ... You're Too Damn Fast!!!

Breaking News
Getty

Having a real-life buffalo as a mascot can be pretty freakin' cool ... that is, unless that mascot is actually TOO WILD to control and is forced into early retirement.

That's exactly what's happening to the Colorado University's beloved furry friend, Ralphie V, who's made her last run after 12 years of service due to "safety concerns" ... the school announced Tuesday.

If you haven't seen the tradition before, it's one of the dopest things in college football -- that is -- when Ralphie behaves.

According to athletic director Rick George, that hasn't been happening lately ... so CU decided to regroup and let 13-year-old Ralphie chill before she hurts someone.

"Ralphie V has served the department and the university well," the AD said. "She has been a very special buffalo and has truly been adored by many. We hope she lives for many years to come and look forward to finding her successor."

Ralphie V will be honored at the school's final home game ... when her "career" will be celebrated.

But, don't worry CU fans ... the 53-year-long tradition will be back next season with Ralphie VI ... and the school's already started interviewing potential replacements.

Lil Pump Snake Bite!!! ... Caught on Video

ESSSSSSSS-KETIT

Lil Pump damn near became a snack for a slithering snake ... and it left him a bloody mess.

The rapper was shooting a music video Thursday night and the crew was handing off a snake to Lil Pump, who was sitting on some sort of stair-like throne. Then, it happened.

The snake, out of nowhere, whipped around and sunk its fangs into Pump's left hand. The scary moment was captured by podcast host Adam Grandmaison -- aka Adam22. You can see Pump flail as he extricates himself from the reptile. He then shows off the gnarly injury.

LP's left hand is covered in blood. And, if you look closely near the end of the vid ... it appears as if the snake's setting its sights on a second victim.

Good news for Lil Pump ... he doesn't seem that hurt, saying, "I just got bit by a snake WTF." He threw in a snake emoji on the caption and a few laughing ones before adding, "I can't f**k [with] no snakes. I hope I don't die."

Where are the Kings of Pain when ya need 'em?

Beluga Whale Fetch With Rugby World Cup Ball ... Incredible Video!!!

Breaking News

Ever seen a Beluga whale play fetch in the open seas before???

Now ya have ... 'cause the Seattle Seawolves just posted video of the adorable mammal retrieving a rugby ball from deep in the ocean -- and it's incredible!!

The 74 seconds of awesome begins with some people on a boat pulling a ball out of the Beluga's mouth ... and then they hurl the sphere about 20 yards away.

That's when the whale swims out and grabs it ... AND THEN BRINGS IT BACK TO THE BOAT!!! It's seriously amazing.

Unclear why the guys decided to have the impromptu game of catch ... but the Seawolves were stoked to post the footage Thursday.

"Great to see a fellow marine mammal enjoying a bit of catch-pass with one of the @RugbyWorldCup balls!" the team wrote. "The #Beluga seems to prefer the offload instead of the spin pass."

FYI, the Seawolves' season starts in a few months -- which means there's definitely enough time to make a nickname change to the Belugas ...

Just sayin'.

Conan The Dog No Military Prestige For Pup ... After taking down ISIS leader

Exclusive
TMZ.com

The heroic dog that helped take down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria will not be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Conan the Dog rose to fame when President Trump tweeted a picture of the K9 used in the special ops mission. He even retweeted a doctored photo of Conan being decorated with the Medal of Honor. And, the dog is going to The White House next week, so it seemed a medal was in the offing.

A Dept. of Defense spokesperson tells TMZ, animals are not eligible to receive hardware like the Medal of Honor. So, the only perk the pooch might get is something from McDonalds.

Trump said Conan was injured during the raid, but it doesn't seem like it was that bad, because she was back on active duty a day or so later.

Even though Conan won't have a shiny new medal, she can take solace in the fact she's quickly becoming one of the most popular dogs in America. Conan's breed, the Belgian Malinois, has been in high-demand since the raid.

TMZ's Pet Costume Sweepstakes ... The Wild Looks

The amount of dressed up pet pictures that poured into social media for the TMZ Pet Costume Sweepstakes is off the leash -- so sit ... and stay ... as you check out some of the fetching photos that are sure to have you beggin' for more!!!

Five (5) lucky little pet people will be contacted through Instagram and will win one (1) $200 gift card for their awesome animal submissions.

Our howling Halloween Pet Costume Sweepstakes was made possible by MyPetCandle.com ... where you can create unbelievable custom candles of your adorable animals (costumes optional), and proceeds help provide care packages to shelter pets in need with GreaterGood.org!

Click here to see official sweepstakes rules.

Military Dog Belgian Malinois In High Demand ... Breeder Fielding Tons Of Calls

Exclusive

President Trump's got people scrambling to bring home a Belgian Malinois after praising the K9 that hunted down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ... and a breeder who supplies the dogs to the U.S. military say they're being flooded with calls from interested buyers.

Remember ... Conan is the Belgian Malinois being hailed an American hero for a stealth operation in Syria, and now she's heading to the White House to be honored by Trump.

Ruidoso Malinois is the kennel supplying U.S. Special Ops with dogs -- its the largest exclusive Malinois kennel in the country -- and owner Irene Howcroft tells us she's been flooded with calls from people looking to take home a Belgian Malinois.

Irene says the surge in interest comes on the heels of Trump introducing Conan to the world, and one man even offered her $85,000 for a Malinois. Irene, who has 73 dogs on-site, tells us she typically sells full-grown Malinois for between $16k and $25k, while puppies go for $2k.

Pups aren't the flavor of the month, though ... Irene says buyers are hitting her up for her biggest dogs.

No word if Conan O'Brien is among the interested parties.

SoCal Wildfires Farm Animals Evacuated ... Piano-Playing Pig In Blanket Displaced

Exclusive
PIANO PIGGY
TMZ.com

The wildfires raging in California are forcing tons of farm animals to be packed up and moved to safety ... including a pig in a blanket who can play the piano.

Nearly 200 animals are being evacuated to Pierce College in Woodland Hills -- it has an agricultural program -- and the farm manager on campus, Marcie Sakadjian, tells us they've run out of room to keep the displaced critters.

Pierce College works in partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control ... the institution started taking in large animals evacuated from the Getty Fire earlier this week, and more started showing up today as a result of the Easy Fire in the Simi Valley.

We're told Pierce College is housing about 170 animals on its 30-acre farm -- mostly horses in addition to goats, alpacas and a pig who arrived with a blanket and a piano. Seriously.

The piano-playing pig, Romeo, is a 15-year-old potbelly and his owner tells us he can also play the tambourine. We're told Romeo's been lifting the spirits of the Pierce College volunteers by playing his unique brand of music. Yes, Romeo's getting piggy with it.

Pierce College is housing the animals in 3 large barns, and we're told the school recently built about 50 temporary pens that are coming in handy. Students, staff and volunteers are working around the clock to feed and take care of the animals, and the good news is the critters are showing up in good health with no signs of burns from the fires.

With Pierce College at capacity, we're told other large animals are being evacuated to another location in Ventura County.

Meanwhile, an alpaca farm in Somis, CA -- about 7 miles West of the Easy Fire -- is preparing to evacuate its 38 alpacas, 2 dogs and 4 cats ... this according to "Alpacas & Beyond" owner Kim Marziole. She says 3 of the alpacas are special needs animals.

It sounds like a crazy scene at the alpaca farm ... we're told there's horses running around on the loose and smoke is filling the air surrounding the farm.

NOBODY LEFT BEHIND
CBS LA

Hopefully, those horses are as brave as the stallion who rushed into the Easy Fire to lead its fellow steeds to safety.

SoCal Wildfires Horse Runs Back Into Danger ... to Save Other Horses!!!

Breaking News
NOBODY LEFT BEHIND
CBS LA

A horse is being hailed a hero after it ran into a treacherous situation to save his/her fellow horses from being burned up in one of the SoCal fires.

The dramatic footage was shot Wednesday morning as Good Samaritans worked to corral horses to safety as they tried to escape the fast-approaching Easy Fire in Simi Valley.

You can see one of the horses all but ready to get loaded onto a trailer when it busted a 180 and ran back to the foothills to save 2 confused horses caught in the chaos.

LEADING HORSES TO SAFETY
CBS Evening News

According to CBS News ... multiple horses and small animals were led to safety. Unfortunately, a 28-year-old mare needed to be euthanized on scene after breaking her two front legs from running away from the fire.

Nearby ranchers were also swiftly moving to evacuate their horses ... and the scene's pretty heartbreaking. As we reported ... the Easy Fire was triggered around 6 AM and, in just a few hours, it torched nearly 1,000 acres.

The Ronald Reagan Library's currently under threat ... as flames currently surround the entire structure. Helicopters were seen dropping water around the library as crews battle the 60 mph winds.

Military Dog That's a Good Boy ... Injured Pooch Revealed After ISIS Raid

Breaking News

9:09 AM PT --  The hero dog's name is Conan and she's a very good girl, this according to Newsweek. Atta girl!!!

President Donald Trump is introducing to the world the K9 hero that risked life and limbs to hunt down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

POTUS declassified this picture to reveal the four paws that had a major hand in taking down al-Baghdadi during a stealthy operation over the weekend in Syria. The pooch was, reportedly, "slightly wounded" after chasing down the ISIS leader, who killed himself and 3 children by detonating a suicide vest.

President Trump said the military dog was chasing al-Baghdadi when he resorted to setting off the bomb.

While the dog is being hailed for its heroism, there are still limits to what we're allowed to know. It's still on the job, and Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says they won't release the dog's name for security reasons.

So, while the feds ain't saying if it's a good boy or a good girl -- we're gonna take a shot in the dark based on the pic they've released. Atta girl, Daisy!

We know you're wondering -- the dog's reportedly German Shepherd or a Belgian Malinois. The latter is the breed of choice for sensitive military missions. In fact, a Belgian Malinois tagged along with the Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden.

This should go without saying, but ... dog treats for life!!!

Tick Fire Gentle Barn Evacuates ... Older Animals Stay Behind

The famous Gentle Barn went under evacuation because of California's devastating Tick Fire ... but some of the older animals are still in harm's way.

While a majority of the creatures who call The Gentle Barn home have made it to safety ... founder Ellie Laks tells us staff members are staying behind with several animals who were unable to escape.

We're told Zeus, a famous 12-year-old pig, and Forgiveness, a 3,000-pound cow, couldn't climb a ladder to safety ... so they were forced to stay back with staffers, who are keeping them contained in a safety fence.

STOP HORSING AROUND
The Gentle Barn

Check out the video ... you see Zoe the horse blanching when handlers tried to get her in the trailer. We're told Zoe was just too terrified.

11 animals remained on property at The Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita ... including a bunch of potbelly pigs. Several workers spent the night with the critters who couldn't make it out.

Even some of the evacuated animals are not in the clear ... goats and sheep were taken to an "unsafe zone" where coyotes and bobcats roam. Gentle Barn workers are watching over them, and we're told they're searching for a safer area to hold the animals.

The good news ... the Tick Fire is moving away from The Gentle Barn ... but we're told staff remains on high alert and they've got their hands full assisting animals at various locations. The fire is only 5 percent contained and 50,000 residents have been evacuated.

The Gentle Barn is super popular with famous folk ... Moby and Daisy Fuentes tried to help in the evacuation, however, we're told Moby was stopped from entering the property by firefighters.