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Donations pour in after 7-year-old girl’s letter to Santa asking for blanket, food

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 8:31 PM

Girl Writes Letter to Santa Asking for Blanket and Food, Receives Hundreds of Donations

A 7-year-old’s heartbreaking letter to Santa asking for a blanket, ball and food, brought in hundreds of donations to help her and other impoverished children at her school.

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“I have (been) good this day,” Crystal Pacheco wrote. “This Christmas I would like a ball and a food. I need a (blanket).”

The letter was part of a classroom exercise by Monte Cristo Elementary School first-grade teacher Ruth Espiricueta, who asked them to list two wants and a need.

“I started reading them and it's like, I did not expect her to say, ‘I need food. I want food, but I need a blanket more,'" Espiricueta told KGBT. "And I asked, ‘Well, why do you need a blanket more than the food?’ ‘Well, I get to eat at school -- sometimes I may not have at home, but I get to eat at school. A blanket I have one, but it's not warm enough.’"

Espiricueta posted the letter on social media, sparking hundreds of donations of blankets and other items to the school, according to KRGV

"Unfortunately, there are other students that, as part of their needs, they included food, towels, blankets, pillows, bed, clothes, shoes and a stove," Espiricueta told ABC News. "Some of my students were not even excited about Christmas because they know that their parents cannot afford to buy a Christmas tree or gifts for them."

Crystal wrote the letter thinking about her brother, with whom she would use the ball, food for the family and the blanket because the house is too cold, her mother Maria Cortez told KRGV.

“I'm just very emotional and proud of my children, because I raise them to appreciate the little that we have," Cortez told KGBT.

The school hopes to get 724 blankets to give to each student, so far they have 616.

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Stranger’s Facebook message reunites family with dog stolen six months ago

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 10:36 AM

Family Reunited With Stolen Dog Thanks to Stranger’s Facebook Message

Left unattended for only 30 minutes, Feather was stolen right out of the Martin’s fenced backyard six months ago.

The family tried desperately to find their beloved Siberian husky. 

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They had nearly given up hope until recently, when Briana Martin got a Facebook message from a nearby mechanic shop -- Feather was at his parent’s house nearly 90 miles away, according to WQAD.

"I was very shocked,” Martin told WQAD. “I just kind of stared at my phone for a second and said what? Once I got my bearings, I said OK, what's their name, what's their address, where can I find them?"

Martin gave the information to East Moline police, who contacted officers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Feather was recovered and returned to the Martins within hours, according to WQAD. The man suspected of stealing Feather did not comment. 

"I wish I could know what's going on with her in the past six months, where she's been, what she's done, how she liked her first snow,” Martin told WQAD.

The Martins plan to press criminal charges. 

"You are looking at grand theft in some cases,” Martin said. “Animals are not cheap, and you could go to jail. Be willing to pay that price if you want to take an animal.”

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New Mexico family reunited with dog missing 5 years found in California

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 12:26 PM

VIDEO: Missing Husky Reunited With Owner More Than Five Years Later

After five years missing, Jezus Vigil and his family thought Azula was dead, or at least gone forever. 

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So he was thrilled, albeit a little confused, to get a phone call recently from Riverside County Department of Animal Services, telling him they had found his 7-year-old Siberian husky. 

The 65-pound dog was found a month ago walking aimlessly down a road in a Riverside neighborhood, officials said. A good Samaritan brought Azula to the shelter, where she was identified from her microchip.

She was flown home to Vigil Wednesday.

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Police K-9 bites girl, 4, while chasing suspect

Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 @ 5:58 PM

File photo.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
John Moore/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)(John Moore/Getty Images)

A Shelby police dog chasing a man wanted on felony warrants bit a 4-year-old girl during the pursuit, officials said.

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The police chief told Channel 9 the suspect jumped on top of a car while trying to get away from the dog. 

At some point, the suspect opened the back door of the car and a girl inside was bitten. 

She was taken to the hospital to be checked out. The extent of her injuries is unknown.

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Cold snap expected to contribute to spike in manatee deaths

Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 @ 7:09 PM

File photo.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)(Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Florida is on pace to set an annual record for manatee deaths, according to officials with a nonprofit government watchdog group.

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Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility officials said the first two months of 2018 have been especially deadly for Florida manatees.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife statistics, through March 9, there have been 183 reported manatee deaths. Of those, 52 deaths are contributed to cold stress.
Cold stress occurs in manatees as a result of exposure to prolonged cold weather.

Experts said exposure to water temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit for long periods can put a manatee at risk for cold-stress syndrome. It leads to weight loss, internal fat loss, dehydration and other issues.

Ron Mezich with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said young manatees are especially vulnerable to death from cold stress.

“It’s one of the factors that manatees typically have to deal with, and a lot of young animals tend to be more susceptible to cold winters when they’re out on their own for the first time,” Mezich said. 

A recent Florida-wide synoptic manatee survey found there are 6,131 manatees, which is down from 6,620 in 2017.

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