Dog reunited with family 101 days after California wildfire

This Feb. 18, 2019 photo provided by Ben Lepe shows Maleah Ballejos reunited with her dog Kingston in Paradise, Calif. (AP)
Updated 20 February 2019
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Dog reunited with family 101 days after California wildfire

  • Family members believe Kingston survived by eating skunks, because he hunted them before the fire and smelled of skunk when they picked him up
  • The Akita named Kingston was reunited with his family 101 days after he jumped out of their truck as they fled a devastating Northern California wildfire

PARADISE, California: A dog named Kingston is back with his family 101 days after he jumped out of their truck as they fled a devastating Northern California wildfire.
The 12-year-old Akita was reunited Monday with the Ballejos family, who fled the town of Paradise late last year, Sacramento television station KXTV reported .
“When I found out, (it) just about brought me to tears,” said Gabriel Ballejos, Kingston’s owner. “I’m so proud of him. I can’t believe it. He’s a true survivor, and it’s a testament to the American spirit.”
Ballejos said they never lost hope and kept posting flyers and contacting shelters.
“Every night I would ask my dad and tell him that we needed to go look for him,” said Ballejos’ daughter, Maleah.
The family got a call after animal rescue volunteer Ben Lepe trapped Kingston on Sunday and took him to Friends of Camp Fire Cats, a local rescue group. The volunteers saw a missing dog message there and contacted the family.
Lepe said the dog had been spotted on surveillance cameras and that he set up a trap big enough for the Kingston on Saturday. He weighs at least 75 pounds (34 kilograms).
“When I went to check it on Sunday, there he was,” Lepe said. “It was awesome to see him and know he would be fed and warm.”
Family members believe Kingston survived by eating skunks, because he hunted them before the fire and smelled of skunk when they picked him up.
The town of Paradise was leveled by a Nov. 8 blaze that killed 85 people and destroyed nearly 15,000 homes in the area.
Angel Herrera, of Friends of Camp Fire Cats, said the group has rescued more than 200 lost pets since the fire and still sets traps.
“If we had the resources, we could trap 50 animals every single night,” she said.


Adoptive mom arrested for alleged abuse of child YouTube stars

This recent undated photo released by the Pinal County Detention Center on March 21, 2019 shows Machelle Hackney after being arrested. (AFP)
Updated 25 March 2019
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Adoptive mom arrested for alleged abuse of child YouTube stars

  • One alleged that “her mother would spray her and her siblings with pepper spray all over their face and body,” while another “stated they would go days without food, water,” the document said

WASHINGTON: YouTube has removed a channel that featured children playing with toy guns and whistling after police arrested their adoptive mother for allegedly starving them, locking them in closets and pepper-spraying them.
The “Fantastic Adventures” channel had more than 700,000 followers and 240 million views.
The seven adopted children told investigators of “having to participate” in the YouTube shows, a court document says.
“They stated they are disciplined in the manners above if they do not recall their lines or do not participate as they are directed to,” says the document filed in Pinal County, Arizona.
“They further stated this is one of the reasons their mom took them out of school so they can keep filming their series and they mentioned they have not been in school for years.”
The youngsters were aged between six and 15.
One alleged that “her mother would spray her and her siblings with pepper spray all over their face and body,” while another “stated they would go days without food, water,” the document said.
They were also “locked in the closet for days at a time” and two said they were sprayed or pinched in the genitals, it added.
Officers from Maricopa, outside Phoenix, said the children “appeared to be malnourished.”
Arrested last week, Machelle Hackney, 47, — known as Machelle Hobson on her channel — was charged with seven counts of child abuse, two counts of child molestation, five counts of unlawful imprisonment and seven counts of child neglect.
Police told AFP on Thursday that she remains in custody after a Tuesday hearing, but her two biological sons, also arrested, were released. Ryan Hackney and Logan Hackney, both 27, are charged with seven counts of failing to report abuse.
The adopted children also appeared in superhero costumes on the channel, which YouTube took down on Wednesday.