Animals of NYC: Pale Male, the Bronx Zoo Cobra, Pattycake and more unforgettable tales
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Fred may have been the city’s most famous crime fighter with four paws and a tail.
The black-striped cat had been rescued from an alley by Animal Care & Control and adopted by Carol Moran, an assistant district attorney at the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.
A few months later, the D.A. was on the trail of a fake veterinarian for charging for a botched operation on a dog. To catch the suspect, the D.A. hatched a sting operation to have Fred delivered to the man with the stated goal of having him neuter the cat for $135. Once the man took the money, the authorities moved in and arrested him. Fred’s story was the world’s meow when the story broke in February 2006.
The fake veterinarian, meanwhile, was sentenced to probation and a psychiatric evaluation. Fred, though, came up one life short when he was killed in August 2006 after being hit by a car. He was 15 months old.
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Photo Credit: Newsday / Joel Cairo
Cecil Williams, a blind man from Brooklyn, said that his service dog Orlando “tried to hold him” up before they both fell onto the tracks of a northbound A train at 125th Street in December 2013.
And Williams would later say that Orlando saved his life by by huddling on top of Williams as cars ran over them and came to a halt. They were both struck but survived. “Orlando was like my angel,” he was quoted as saying in Today. “We work together. I protect him and he protects me.”
Shortly after his fall, a fundraiser helped Williams to keep Orlando as a pet. The dog, 11 at the time, had been due to retire.
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Photo Credit: Newsday / Bruce Gilbert
The city’s animal tales are as outsized as the metropolis itself.
Whether they are tales of alligators in the sewer or the love story of Pale Male and Lola, the red-tailed hawks of Fifth Avenue that have inspired bird watchers to hold protests to defend them, when New Yorkers hear a good story about the fauna of the city, they can’t get enough.
And the really good ones become legend, iconic in the same way as Ed Koch or Sarah Jessica Parker.
Remember Ming the Bengal tiger, who lived in a Harlem public housing complex and was said to have emotional problems? Or what about Hal the coyote of Central Park, who roamed the wilds of the urban green and had the tabloid media giving chase?
really may have even been an alligator in the sewer back in 1935 and it still entrances today.
Here are seven unforgettable animal tales, new and old, that had New York talking.