ANIMALS and their antics are constantly hitting the headlines in Dorset.

Be it pets, wildlife or the mysterious phenomenon of the Dorset Big Cat, all creatures great and small have drawn in thousands of readers.

Here are our Top Ten Animal Stories. It’s grrrrrrreat!


DODGER the cat lived the purrfect life hopping on and off buses in Bridport.

The fur dodger was known for enjoying life on the road on a number of buses around West Dorset, especially enjoying excursions on the X53 to Charmouth and back.

He was seen hopping on and off buses, sitting on passengers’ laps as they wait and devouring discarded sandwiches.

But the 15-year-old cat, named after The Artful Dodger from the Charles Dickens’s novel Oliver Twist, was not a stray - he returned to his home in Bridport each night to be fed.

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Dorset Echo:


AN ADOPTED black cat brought Weymouth FC good luck.

George the stray cat become an unofficial Terras mascot when he made a home for himself at the club.

The once emaciated cat was treated like a king. He was provided with a kennel at the top of the stands of the Bob Lucas stadium and would sleep there every night.

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A TINY owl was nursed back to health by a Weymouth man after it caused a flap on a Royal Navy ship.

Lieutenant Chris Patrick spotted the Eurasian Scops owl cowering under the crane on the flight deck of HMS Illustrious while off the coast of Yemen.

The 44-year-old seaman took the creature to his cabin where he made a comfortable cage, gave it water and tried to feed it small pieces of meat to build up its strength.

Once his feathered friend had built up its strength, it was released into the skies.

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Dorset Echo:


A MORBIDLY obese moggy was entered into a slimming competition after ballooning to twice his ideal weight.

Supersized Dorchester cat Ulric, who once weighed a whopping 2st, lost 0.3kg after following a diet for six months.

Before his dramatic transformation, his owner Jan Mitchell said: “Ulric showed signs of being a large cat when he was still just a kitten.

“He would steal his sister’s food and is best described as ‘exercise-shy’.

“He gained weight most noticeably in the last couple of years – visitors often remark how big he is, especially as he’s started to waddle like a pregnant woman.”

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Dorset Echo:


A PONY called Boozy was left with that morning after feeling after trapping his leg in a gate he was trying to jump at his farm.

The five-year-old was waiting to be fed and got ‘over-excited’, did a half jump and got stuck, James Macduff of the farm said.

Boozy sparked a major rescue operation with firefighters called to Winterborne Kingston to rescue him.

Left with a bandage on his leg and some swelling, Boozy swiftly recovered from his ordeal.

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Dorset Echo:


GERIATRIC quacker Drakey Lakey was thought to be Dorset’s oldest duck when he passed away aged 26 years and four months.

The average life span of Drakey’s breed - a harlequin cross – is 12 to 14 years.

Drakey Lakey, who lived with his Chickerell owners, was buried alongside his feathered companion Jemima in a special grave in the garden with three stone ducks on top.

Dorset Echo:


NUMEROUS sightings of a ‘big black cat’ were reported to the Echo last year.

The creature was seen in fields off the A35 near Dorchester.

A motorist reported seeing large orange eyes reflected in his headlights one night.

A lorry driver from Somerset on his way to Bridport was driving on the A35 and looked to a field on the left, where he saw 'a large black panther.'

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Dorset Echo:


A CREATURE believed to be a monkey was spotted on the loose in a Dorchester park.

Student Terri Leigh Cox photographed the primate scampering across Salisbury Fields in the county town.

She said: “It was such a shock, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing at first.

“It was definitely a monkey because you could tell by its hunched back and the way it scampered across the field and up the tree.”

The monkey drama was splashed across the pages of newspapers around the country after featuring in the Echo last year.

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Dorset Echo:


GINGER the dog was taken to the nation’s heart after she was dumped in Weymouth.

The loveable hound became a national celebrity when footage was beamed around the world of her being callously pushed out of a car on the Granby Industrial Estate.

Ginger was adopted by Southampton resident John Steele, and is enjoying a happy new life walking in the park and watching the pigeons.

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Dorset Echo:


RANDY the dolphin became a Weymouth and Portland phenomenon as a regular visitor to Weymouth Harbour, Chesil Cove and Castletown in 2002.

Named because of his fondness for female bathers, the bottlenose dolphin also known as George became famous internationally for his antics.

Randy was believed to have been the first bottlenose to have crossed the Channel, following a Condor ferry from Jersey to get to the resort.

He eventually swam off to Devon and was spotted again five years later off Kimmeridge and in Weymouth Harbour.

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