<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Weird News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/weird http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.comen-usSun, 26 Feb 2017 10:13:40 -0500Sun, 26 Feb 2017 10:13:40 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Status Check: 'April' the Giraffe Doing Well, Still Pregnant]]> Sat, 25 Feb 2017 12:58:43 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/april+giraffe+update.jpg

The 15-year-old giraffe named "April," who has captivated millions of people across the world as they watch a live stream in anxious anticipation of the birth of her fourth calf at an upstate New York zoo, is still pregnant and doing well. 

Veterinarians with the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, outside Binghamton, said April's progression continues, but giraffes tend to hide signs of labor as a natural instinct, so they can't confirm active labor.

That said, vets checked in on her twice overnight and "physical posturing and other activity observed would suggest we are close," the group wrote on Facebook Friday morning. Around 8:30 a.m., the live stream actually showed significant movement in April's belly as the long-necked beauty began to walk outside.

Not much changed the day started coming to a close: April alternated between standing still, swinging her tail, and slowly circling her pen.

April's pregnancy was catapulted into global headlines earlier Thursday after YouTube briefly yanked the zoo's live stream following complaints by animal activists that it violated the site's policies concerning "nudity and sexual content." Thousands upon thousands of commenters voiced their frustration on Facebook and YouTube, and the stream was restored within an hour or so. 

More than 30 million people across the globe have tuned in over the last few days to watch it. You can check out the live stream above.

April was seen slinking gracefully around her hay-laden home Friday morning in no apparent distress. Once she goes into active labor, zoo officials say the keepers will go in to help her but first-time dad, 5-year-old Oliver, will be held out of the pen. The dad-to-be will get to go outside with his mate for some exercise Friday, zoo officials said, but they have to be kept apart.

"Her and Oliver will both enjoy yard time today, but are kept separate due to April's condition," the group wrote on Facebook. "His rambunctious play for an extended period could have negative effects. Boys will be boys."

Giraffe pregnancies last for 15 months. Labor lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The calf will be about 150 pounds and 6 feet tall at birth and up and walking in about an hour. The zoo says it will hold a contest to name it.



Photo Credit: Animal Adventure Park/Mazuri
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<![CDATA[DC-Area Riddled With Old 'Spy Sites': Ex-CIA Employee]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 09:52:24 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Georgetown+pizza.jpg

The chances you live within walking distance to a spy site are 100 percent for those living in the D.C. area, according to a former CIA official.

Robert Wallace, who spent 40 years in the CIA, wrote the book “Spy Sites of Washington, D.C., A Guide to the Capital Region's Secret History,” which details hundreds of locations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia with connections to espionage.

Walking the streets of D.C., Wallace said locations where spies lived, worked, held secret meetings and conducted dead drops are all around.

“I think it's about 100 percent certain that there is a spy site in your neighborhood, somewhere in your neighborhood,” he said. “I assure you, you can walk to it.”

In December 1976, retired CIA employee Edwin Moore lived in a home on Fort Sumner Drive in Bethesda, Maryland.

“He decided to go to the other side,” Wallace said.

Moore stole enough classified documents to fill several boxes and tried to sell them to the Soviet Union. He wrapped up a sample of the secret documents with a note and threw the bundle over the fence of the Soviet Embassy, which is now the Russian ambassador’s home. A security guard at the embassy found the package and called D.C. police, fearing it was a bomb.

“They come, retrieve the package, determine it isn't a bomb,” Wallace said. “They open the package, and some very alert police officer in Washington says, ‘Hmm, I think the FBI might be interested in this, and in fact, they were.”

Moore’s note instructed the Soviets to deliver $3,000 in cash to a dead drop location by a fire hydrant right across the street from his house, which undercover FBI agents did.

“He's arrested, he's tried, he's convicted, he's sentenced to 15 years in prison and then subsequently paroled after about three years,” Wallace said.

From the Soviet Union to the United States and Back
The security guard who found the package at the embassy was KGB.

Eight years after turning over Moore’s package of secrets to police, Vitaly Yurchenko returned to the Soviet Union.

“He was a fast-rising officer of the KGB,” Wallace said.

In 1985 after being diagnosed with cancer Yurchenko returned to the United States as a defector.

“He had knowledge of a lot of KGB operations in the United States, so of course we were interested, from a counterintelligence perspective, to debrief him thoroughly, and we did,” Wallace said.

Yurchenko’s defection didn’t last long. One night while having dinner at a Georgetown restaurant that is now the location of an &pizza restaurant, Yurchenko told his CIA security officer he was stepping outside for some fresh air.

“When he walked down the street maybe a block or so he was likely picked up by the KGB at that point,” Wallace said. “We saw him a day or so later on TV announcing that he had been drugged by the CIA for the last three months and he was very happy to be back in friendly hands.”

Spy Tactics Used for a Political Purpose
In his book, Wallace recounts hundreds of spy stories from locations across the area, including the famous garage in Rosslyn where Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward held secret meetings with his Watergate source Deep Throat.

“The Watergate story is in fact an adaptation of espionage techniques for a political purpose,” Wallace said.

“Spy Sites” includes maps of neighborhoods in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.



Photo Credit: NBCWashington
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<![CDATA[San Francisco Firefighters Rescue Precariously Perched Pooch]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 06:28:19 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/216*120/dogrescue1.JPG

Over a dozen San Francisco firefighters on Wednesday rushed to save a dog that plunged over a cliff at Fort Funston.

It took a crew of 16 people roughly one hour to pull the dog to safety. But it remains unclear what led to the fall.

San Francisco fire Capt. Jonathan Baxter said that it is important that a dog respond to verbal commands when in a park that doesn't require the canines stay on a leash. Fort Funston is dotted with cliffs, which can be very dangerous for animals that get too close to the edge, he said.

On Wednesday, the dog's caretaker acted appropriately by reaching out to the San Francisco Fire Department, instead of trying to save the animal himself, according to Baxter.



Photo Credit: San Francisco Fire Department Public Information Officer via Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Rare Quadruplet Calves Born in Ireland]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:28:38 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DIT_INT_QUADCOWS_022317-148789925482500001.jpg

A farming family in Ireland's County Clare is celebrating the births of four nearly identical calves. The odds of this happening are quite incredible.

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<![CDATA[Man Drives Half-Mile with Police Officer on Hood]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 19:05:42 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DIT_INT_CHINAPOLICEHOOD_022317-148789366995300001.jpg

A man in China drove away from a checkpoint with a police officer on the hood of his car.  The incident was captured on surveillance footage.

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<![CDATA[Florida Man Claims Dog Accidentally Shot His Girlfriend]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:30:21 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/ambulance-shutterstock_12161325.jpg

Diesel the dog did it.

That's the claim a 25-year-old Jacksonville man made after his girlfriend was shot in the leg while she was sleeping.

Brian Murphy's girlfriend, Summer Miracle, was taken to the hospital late Tuesday with non-life threatening injuries.

Murphy told police he was sleeping next to Miracle when his dog Diesel woke him up. He went outside with the dog and then came back into the home.

According to an incident report, Murphy said it was really dark inside the home and could not see anything. That's when he said he saw a flash and heard a bang.

Murphy said he believes Diesel jumped on the nightstand where his gun was sitting and it went off, shooting Miracle.

The boyfriend called 911 and got a towel to put on Miracle's leg, according to Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. The girlfriend told police she was sleeping and was not sure how she got shot.

No charges were filed.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Caught on Video: Tiger Knocks Drone out of the Sky]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:10:29 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/2-23-17-tigers-and-drones.jpg

Incredible video captured at a Siberian tiger enclosure in Northeast China. China's state broadcaster released this footage showing the animals chasing a drone until one jumps up and knocks it out of the sky. Footage from a second camera shows the tigers gathering around the drone on the ground and tearing into it until they were scared away because it started smoking. Staff members say they use drone chasing to keep the tigers fit.



Photo Credit: NBC ]]>
<![CDATA[Girl Turns to Police Department for Help on Math Homework]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 10:08:42 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/16640810_10109124209283375_6508236704912685509_n.jpg

When a 10-year-old girl needed help with her math homework, she sought assistance from an unlikely source — her local police department.

“I’m having trouble with my homework. Could you help me?” Lena Draper wrote in a Facebook message to the Marion, Ohio Police Department.

The department responded, and — surprise, surprise — it had answers

The first equation: (8+29)x15.

“Do the numbers in the parenthesis first so in essence it would be 37 x 15,” the department replied.

Then a second problem: (90+27) + (29+15)x2

“Take the answer from the first parenthesis plus the answer from the second parenthesis and multiply that answer times two,” the department wrote. “Work left to right doing the work inside the parenthesis first.”

The young student’s mother, Molly Draper, posted screenshots of the exchange on Facebook soon after learning what her daughter had done.

“My daughter. Cause… she’s my daughter,” Draper wrote. “Thank you, Marion, Ohio Police Department, for truly building relationships with the community.”

As some were quick to note, however, the department solved the second equation inaccurately.

Using the order of operations, the problem is actually solved by adding the numbers in parentheses first, multiplying the second sum by two and adding that total to the sum of the numbers in the first parentheses.

“Hoping it is truly the thought that counts since apparently I cannot! Especially since the answer was wrong, it was very nice for Molly to acknowledge our attempt to help her daughter with some math homework,” the department wrote on its Facebook page. “We do aim to be a full service police department after all. Have to say this is the first time we have been asked by a young Facebook follower to help with homework through messenger but hey, we SERVE and protect. Maybe should have mentioned that History was my favorite subject before answering. Well, we know now!”

The officer writing on the department's page wondered what made the child call on them for help with her homework, saying it wasn’t unheard of “but still pretty rare.”

“The fact that this particular problem (third grade math) was over our head was not the important part,” the department wrote. “What's important is that an environment has been created in this community, quite deliberately that nurtures a sense of connection and belonging and trust. Because those things exist, this rather popular Facebook post was able to happen.”



Photo Credit: Marion, Ohio Police Department/ Facebook
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<![CDATA[Suspected Drunk Driver Does Cartwheels During Sobriety Test]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 07:04:04 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/dui-suspect1.jpg

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Police in Albuquerque, New Mexico arrested a woman they say did cartwheels during a field sobriety test Friday.

Bryelle Marshall, 23, was arrested and charged with battery, aggravated DWI and driving with an expired license plate after her vehicle was reported driving recklessly

Albuquerque police said an officer found Marshall asleep behind the wheel of her parked car.

After waking Marshall up, officers asked her to step out of the vehicle. Police said she appeared to be extremely intoxicated and was having a hard time listening to the officers' commands.

The incident was recorded by one of the officers' body cameras.

A DWI officer was giving Marshall instructions to complete the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), to which she responded by laughing and doing cartwheels in front of the officers.

The officer then attempted to demonstrate the tests to Marshall when she completed another cartwheel and struck the officer in the back.

At that point, Marshall's opportunities to complete the tests were over and she was arrested.

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Photo Credit: Albuquerque Police Department
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<![CDATA[Bull in Wild NYC Chase Dies Hours After Capture]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 06:40:25 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/runaway+cow1.jpg

The rogue bull that escaped from a Queens slaughterhouse and led police on a wild, hours-long chase through neighborhood streets Tuesday, ducking under caution tape and sidestepping cops, has died, NYPD officials confirmed.

The bull, which was seen with at least a dozen tranquilizer darts in its side over the course of the miles-long chase, died at some point before 2:30 p.m., nearly three hours after it escaped a Beaver Road slaughterhouse and went on a free-for-all through Queens, dodging police in Jamaica and South Ozone Park before it was captured in someone's backyard.

A cause of death for the animal wasn't immediately clear, but a spokeswoman for Animal Care Centers of NYC said it died during transport. It wasn't clear where the animal was being taken at the time and city officials had no further comment. The remains will now be taken to a crematorium, officials said. 

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The animal's demise culminates a wild chase that featured daring efforts by police and passersby to bring the bull into custody. Live video from Chopper 4 showed the bull penned between two houses at one point Tuesday as authorities attempted to wrangle it. Chopper footage then captured the animal outmaneuvering law enforcement, dodging an officer who had jumped atop an emergency response vehicle, and ducking under yellow caution tape as it galloped down the middle of a street and onto a sidewalk.

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Passersby appeared to give chase as police, on foot and in department-issued vehicles, pursued the animal. Several times it appeared officers had managed to corral the animal, but each time the bull shot through makeshift barriers and started running down the street again.

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The bull appeared exhausted by about 12:15 p.m., settling in the middle of a street as officers armed with tranquilizer equipment tried -- and failed -- once again to take the animal into custody. About 10 minutes later, the animal was apprehended in someone's backyard; its legs were tied to keep it immobile as at least a half-dozen police officers crowded around it. 

Cows escaped slaughterhouses at least twice last year, in January and April. In the second case, comedian Jon Stewart took possession of the bull and transferred it to an animal sanctuary he owns. 

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Tuesday's crazy chase vaulted the bull to the stuff of Internet legend in a manner of hours. It becomes the second "viral" animal to die in the city in the last few months. In December, a white-tailed buck who was granted a last-minute reprieve from euthanasia after a days-long back and forth between the city and state died in Harlem. The one-antlered buck died while state officials from the Department of Environmental Conservation were arranging relocation. The city blamed the state for its death; the state blamed the city.

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Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York
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<![CDATA[Student Grades Ex's Apology Letter]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 07:34:09 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-553200253.jpg

A University of Central Florida student's reaction to his ex-girlfriend's plea for forgiveness is making the rounds on social media.

Nick Lutz received a hand-written, four-page letter from his ex, who apologized for the mistakes she made in their relationship.

But the lovelorn woman's effort did not make the grade for Lutz. He marked up her apology letter, gave it a D- and said he sent it back to her.

[[414310013, C]]

The college student posted the letter to Twitter on Friday with all of his corrections and suggestions in red ink. The tweet has since garnered more than 311,000 likes and 106,000 retweets.

He first noted an indention error and criticized the long introduction. Then, he scrutinized the body and statements made throughout the letter.

His ex blamed herself while admiring her former lover. However, she made one detail clear: "I never cheated on you."

Lutz wrote in response: "Strong statement. No supporting details to support your hypothesis."

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The UCF student corrected a misspelling too: "loose" to the more appropriate "lose."

At the end of the four-page letter, Lutz pointed out that his ex had a "strong hypothesis but nothing to back it up." He added that "details are important" and that she needs "to stop contradicting your own story and pick a side."

Lutz signed the letter, "good luck."

We're not sure if his ex has moved on, but it sure does look like Lutz is not interested in rekindling the love.

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Photo Credit: Westend61, Getty
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<![CDATA[Crews Rescue Suspected Drug Dealer From NJ Cliff After Chase]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:17:12 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/anthony+lora+trapped+palisades.jpg

A suspected drug dealer became trapped on the side of a steep cliff in New Jersey Monday night as he ran from police following a drug sting, authorities said.

Anthony Lora, 22, was left hanging on for dear life as rescuers scaled the jagged cliffs of the Palisades to reach him.

Police say Lora was selling drugs, including cocaine and ecstasy, to undercover officers in a stairway off Hudson Terrace in Fort Lee around 5 p.m.

At some point, he took off and ran into Palisades Interstate Park, which lines the western side of the Hudson River just north of the George Washington Bridge. 

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Authorities said Lora eventually came to a ledge and started climbing down the side of a cliff in the darkness. With officers cornering him from above and from the Henry Hudson Drive below, Lora latched onto a tree and became stranded.

Red and blue lights lit up the night near the George Washington Bridge as rescuers tried to reach him.

Rescuers set up in at least three locations and a rappel team led him to safety about three hours later. No one was reported injured in the rescue.

Lora was taken into custody on drug charges and for resisting arrest. Additional charges are pending, according to authorities.

Lora was also wanted by the NYPD for armed robbery, and authorities said he will be extradited to New York to face armed robbery charges.


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<![CDATA[College Roommates Force Rat Out of House in Viral Video ]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 06:34:18 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/College-Students-Force-Rat-Out.jpg

A group of college roommates used a barricade and brooms to force a rat out of their home in a video that has now gone viral.

Jody Mackin, a senior at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, said she and her three roommates Logan, Briana and Meg, found a rat upstairs in their home. After failing to catch the rat in a trap, the students decided to force the rodent out. They used a mop, a bucket, garbage can and Swiffer to create a barricade in the bathroom.

“We had to act fast,” Mackin said. “We barricaded it so it couldn’t stay upstairs.”

With help from Logan’s boyfriend, the girls put the plan into action. After they used the barricade to force it out of their bathroom, the rodent tumbled downstairs. Logan’s boyfriend then used a broom to slap it out of the house. Video of the roommates forcing out their unwanted guest quickly went viral and has been retweeted over 122,000 times since it was first posted on twitter on Friday.

“Being known as the rat girls isn’t something we’re too happy about,” Mackin said while laughing. “But it’s definitely pretty cool.”

It turns out however, the girls’ rat problems didn’t end with the dramatic slap shot.  The next day they found what they believed to be the same rat dead inside a trap they had forgotten to throw away.

“It was the next morning and it was downstairs in the kitchen,” Mackin said. “Either it was the same rat or it was a different one. We’re just going to go ahead and say it was the same rat.”

Take a look at the rat eviction video below:

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Photo Credit: Jody Mackin
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<![CDATA[Ohio Woman's Final Jab at Trump]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:02:47 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_116963857380.jpg

As her loved ones mourn their loss, one Ohio woman found a source of comfort in her own passing – by taking a shot at President Donald Trump in her obituary.

Elizabeth "Liz" Smith died Monday at the age of 87, surrounded by her family, who then made her political views well known.

"Liz is smiling now, not to be living during the Trump presidency," her obituary reads.

A member of Huron County Democratic Party and a poll worker, Smith’s daughter told the Sandusky Register that her mother "doesn’t like the man, she never has."

"She had seen that in somebody else’s obituary and kind of made a note of that," said Deborah Lucal.

Smith was a lifetime member of Girl Scouts USA and an avid volunteer, as well as an active member of her church and a travel enthusiast.

Despite Smith’s preference for blue when it came to her politics, Lucal told the Register that her mother requested everyone wear red to her funeral, in celebration of her life.

Smith was hardly the first to make a political statement in her departure.

A Pennsylvania chiropractor who passed away in Jan. 2016 at the age of 70 had just one request for his mourners: "In lieu of flowers, please don't vote for Donald Trump."

His son told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he and his brother decided to include the line after seeing a New Jersey woman’s obituary the previous August, asking loved ones not to vote for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Though commentary came from both sides of the afterlife aisle, one Virginia woman’s obituary broke with the partisan trend in her post-mortem political plea.

"Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God," her May 2016 obituary said.



Photo Credit: Rogelio V. Solis, AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Pa. College Student Learns Importance of Taking Out the Trash]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 06:29:38 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000019454719_1200x675_881065539820.jpg

Westminster College student Conner Cox learned a tough lesson when his mother mailed him a box full of garbage that he forgot to take out during a visit home.

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<![CDATA[Scientists Say They’ve Discovered a Lost Continent]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 11:55:37 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/TLMD-zealandia--.jpg

Scientists say they have identified an underwater continent two-thirds the size of Australia — and they are calling it Zealandia.

This newly proposed continent is about 1.74 million square miles in size and 94 percent submerged. But at its highest points, it protrudes above the ocean surface in the form of New Zealand and New Caledonia, according to a paper published in GSA Today, the journal of the Geological Society of America.

"If we could pull the plug on the oceans, it would be clear to everyone we have mountain chains and a big, high-standing continent above the ocean crust," Nick Mortimer, a geologist at GNS Science in Dunedin, New Zealand, told Reuters.

Zealandia is believed to have broken away from Australia about 80 million years ago and sunk beneath the sea as part of the break-up of the super-continent Gondwanaland.



Photo Credit: GSA Today]]>
<![CDATA[Book 75 Years Overdue Returned]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:08:10 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/NC_overduebook0217a_1920x1080.jpg

A book checked out from a Pennsylvania library more than 75 years ago was finally returned.



Photo Credit: WBRE-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Brewery Offers Paid Leave for Workers Who Rescue Dogs]]> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 02:23:27 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/brew-dog-today-170217-tease_ce1564ad4fd9dd4f935c216394edac83.today-inline-large.jpg

Scotland-based brewery BrewDog recognizes that, while a dog is a person's best friend, introducing a new dog into the home can be a difficult process.

The company announced earlier this week that they're giving their 1,000 employees around the world (including those working at a soon-to-open brewery in Columbus, Ohio) a week's paid leave if they become rescue dog owners.

This "paw-ternity" leave includes puppies and full-grown dogs. Considering that Americans spend more than $60 billion each year on their pets, according to the American Pet Products Association, the paw-ternity idea is now starting to find support in the U.S.

"It's not easy trying to juggle work and settle a new dog into your life, and many members of our crew have four-legged friends at home," company co-founder James Watt told KARE-11 TV.

"We wanted to take the stress out of the situation and let our teams take the time they need to welcome their new puppy or dog into their family."



Photo Credit: @BrewDog/Twitter
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<![CDATA[A Scapegoat! Billy Baaack with Owner after Roaming Bucks Co.]]> Fri, 17 Feb 2017 19:20:17 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Escape+Goat+Newtown+PD.jpg

Of all the potentially dangerous situations for police in Newtown, Bucks County, this traffic stop wasn't so baaaaaaad.

Officers in Newtown Township Police Department found an escape goat roaming the neighborhood on Eagle Road about 6 a.m. Friday. They returned to the police station with the animal.

In an effort to find the goat's owner, Newtown Police posted a photo of the officers with the goat on their Facebook page -- which prompted a "caption contest" of the baaaaadest goat puns.

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"I don't even know how I goat here," wrote a Facebook user.

"Just two officers working the bleat," commented another user.

Newton Police managed to track down the goats owner -- who came and picked up the goat Friday afternoon.

Jean Tanner, executive assistant to the police chief, said the department occasionally receives calls about wandering animals.

"A lot of people [in this area] have several acres of land with farm animals, so we occasionally have animals escape and wander," she said.



Photo Credit: Newtown Township Police Department
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<![CDATA[For Proposal, Man Tucks Engagement Ring Into Chicken Nugget]]> Thu, 16 Feb 2017 13:28:04 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/NC_mcnuggetproposal0216_1920x1080.jpg

When Kristian Helton proposed to Karsyn Long on Valentine's Day, he didn't put the ring in a velvet box. Instead, he tucked the ring into a McDonald's chicken nugget box with a note that asked, "Will you McMarry me??" 

"Her love for chicken nuggets, I'm sure, is more than she loves me," Helton said. "She has devoted her life to chicken nuggets, so that had to be part of the engagement." 

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<![CDATA[Discovery of Likely Alien Worlds Has Scientists Buzzing]]> Thu, 16 Feb 2017 07:31:07 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/milkywayfeuerherd.jpg

Astronomers have spotted more than 100 new potential alien planets, including one in the fourth-closest star system to the sun, a new study reports.

This haul of newfound possible exoplanets, which have yet to be confirmed as bona fide alien worlds, comes from a new analysis of 20 years' worth of data gathered by the HIRES (High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer) instrument at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

"HIRES was not specifically optimized to do this type of exoplanet detective work, but has turned out to be a workhorse instrument of the field," study co-author Steve Vogt, of the University of California, Santa Cruz, said in a statement. "I am very happy to contribute to science that is fundamentally changing how we view ourselves in the universe," added Vogt, who designed and built HIRES.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[In This Texas Home, a Buffalo Roams Indoors]]> Thu, 16 Feb 2017 10:38:56 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/quinlan+house+buffalo.jpg

Some families like dogs. Others prefer cats. But what about a buffalo?

"There's nothing unusual about it to us," said RC Bridges, of Quinlan. "I'm the buffalo whisperer."

The Texan and his wife, Sherron, have named their pet American buffalo "WildThing."

He's over six-feet-tall and weighs about 2,500 pounds. Oh, and he's allowed inside their house.

"We don't bring him in as much as we used to because you always have to move the furniture," Bridges joked. "It's kind of like having a small car in your house. I don't know if he's totally domesticated. I think he's trained me more than I've trained him."

When WildThing is roaming around outside he tears up everything, but once he sets foot inside, his behavior changes.

"He's never broken anything or used the bathroom in the house," Bridges added. "I don't think I'm crazy, I just enjoy wild animals. I feel safe with him. There's danger, you know, no doubt about it. We don't recommend just anybody pick it up and do it. We've turned down seven offers for reality shows so far."

WildThing was even Bridges' best man at his wedding.

"He's just part of the family," Bridges said.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Texas Officer Stops Flaming Truck From Engulfing Drive-Thru]]> Tue, 14 Feb 2017 23:58:08 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/glenn+heights+truck+fire.jpg

The actions of a quick-thinking Texas police officer likely kept a Dallas County restaurant from going up in flames.

Glenn Heights Police Officer Chris Womack says he was just in the right place at the right time as the first-year officer was forced to tackle a situation most officers don't see in their entire careers.

A pickup truck erupted in flames Saturday night while in the drive-thru lane at the Jack in the Box restaurant off Interstate 35E and Bear Creek Road.

Womack, who was coming back on duty after having dinner with his wife, happened to be nearby and answered the call.

"When I got there, the flames were reaching the roof," Womack said.

The people who had been in the truck were already safely outside.

"It was a truck he had just bought that day," Womack said.

The officer's dash camera was rolling as he jumped the curb into the drive-thru lane, positioned his patrol cruiser behind the truck and used his bumper to push the truck away from the restaurant, just as the flames crept closer to the building.

"This is not anything I've ever experienced before," Womack said.

Despite the truck being engulfed in flames, there is absolutely no damage to the building – just a charred curb.

It's still unclear why the older model pickup truck caught fire.



Photo Credit: Glenn Heights PD]]>
<![CDATA[Husband's Valentine's Day Surprise: Lobster a la L Train]]> Wed, 15 Feb 2017 08:43:18 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/C4rQDsUW8AMj2pa.jpg

It's the rare poet who would call a New York subway platform romantic.

But for Mohammad Choudry, the L train platform at Union Square was the perfect place to surprise his wife with Valentine’s Day dinner.

Choudry said his wife of nine years loves the Union Square station, with its musicians and subway performers. So he figured it’d be a great location to have a quick meal to commemorate their love. 

It was noisy and crowded, and it was so windy the red tablecloth nearly flew away. 

But when Mohammad’s wife, Johnnybell Sanchez, walked in, none of it seemed to matter.

“I saw the camera and I’m like, ‘What is going on?’ Johnnybell said. “I was so surprised.”

Mohammad even hired a band to play for her.

The band’s tunes serenaded the busy platform as the Bronx couple had lobster and rush hour crowds watched in amusement. Many people took photos. Even an L train conductor couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

“Wow, just wow,” she said.

Johnnybell couldn’t help but feel the stares of the crowd.

“It was a little weird. I’m not going to lie,” she said.

But she also said it was the most memorable Valentine’s anyone has ever given her.

“He’s never done anything like this before, so I’m really proud of him.”

Mohammad felt it went off without a hitch.

“I think it came out perfect,” he said.



Photo Credit: NBC New York
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<![CDATA[Singer Turns Heads With Trump Gown at Grammys]]> Mon, 13 Feb 2017 14:02:39 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/joy-villa-trump.jpg

The 59th Grammy Awards were not free of politically-charged moments, starting off with one gown that made some scratch their heads.

Singer-songwriter Joy Villa walked the red carpet at the Grammys wearing a white robe and unveiled her Donald Trump gown with gusto. The blue dress, adorned with Trump’s signature phrase “Make America Great Again” down the front, included “Trump” on the back in glitter.

Villa's dress caught the attention of social media users. She gained about 60,000 followers on Twitter, bumping her 21,000 to over 81,000. Her EP, "I Make the Static," made it to the top of Amazon's best-selling album chart and was #16 on iTunes Monday morning.  

“Go big or go home,” the 25-year old artist wrote on her Instagram post. “You can either stand for what you believe or fall for what you don’t. Above all make a choice for tolerance and love. See the person over the politics, carry yourself with dignity, always. Life is made to be lived, so go boldly and give no effs!”

Villa is no stranger to unconventional fashion on the red carpet, either. Two years ago, she wore a gown to the Grammys made of orange construction material.



Photo Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
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<![CDATA[Meet the Golden Retriever Giving Out Free Hugs in NYC ]]> Fri, 10 Feb 2017 11:08:33 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/160*120/huggungdog6.JPG NYC golden retriever Louboutina, or Loubie, doesn't take your average walks. This sweet dog gives out free hugs to anyone walking by. Having a ruff day? Catch her in the Chelsea area between 5th Avenue and 17th Street for a furry hug.

Photo Credit: Bianca Rosembert]]>
<![CDATA[Back-to-Back Falls Can't Crush UCLA Cheerleader's Spirit]]> Fri, 10 Feb 2017 13:22:53 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/207*120/02-10-2017-ucla-cheerleader-generic.jpg

UCLA's win over Oregon wasn't the only impressive comeback Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion.

A Bruins cheerleader returned to the court during the Pac-12 men's basketball game after taking two frightening spills -- once during a timeout routine, again as she was being carried into the lockerroom.

The first hard fall happened during a timeout, when she slipped from on top of a team member's shoulders at mid-court. A few seconds later, an assistant carrying her slipped on what appeared to be a bag left near the baseline -- both tumbled to the ground in a heap.

The cheerleader was checked out by medical staff and returned to the court for the No. 10 Bruins in their come-from-behind 82-79 win over No. 5 Oregon, according to the UCLA Spirit Squad Twitter account. UCLA was down by 19 in the first half before storming back for a key win in the race for the Pac-12 title. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Abandoned Honeymoon Resorts: A Look Into a Bygone Era]]> Tue, 14 Feb 2017 08:34:13 -0500 last year to a corporation that plans to redevelop the property.]]> last year to a corporation that plans to redevelop the property.]]> http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/181*120/PH-sign.jpg Honeymoon resort hotels from the 1960s, heralded as a getaway for newlyweds, became famous for their heart-shaped beds and jacuzzis. But by the early 2000s, many of them were deserted as consumers chose cruises and low-cost international travel over honeymoon kitsch. As part of his "Autopsy of America" series, photographer Seph Lawless documented the current state of these resorts, which stand abandoned across the Poconos in Pennsylvania.

Photo Credit: Seph Lawless]]>