Drug-sniffing rabbit, cannon-firing kittens mark U.S. April Fools’

NEW YORK Kittens firing a cannon, a rabbit sniffing for drugs, attempts at humor on the fraught presidential campaign trail and a failed prank by Google competed for attention in the United States on Friday.

As ever, the trick for April Fools’ Day hoaxes was to try to be outlandish, yet faintly plausible.

The police department in Amherst, New York, unveiled a new crime-fighting scheme, showing an officer with a rabbit on its Facebook page.

“Drug interdiction has become more difficult with criminals discovering ever new and smaller areas to conceal drugs,” the department said. “‘Dusty’ and his handler will be able to search vehicles and other small areas with greater accuracy.”

National Geographic, following Playboy’s decision this year to stop publishing photos of nude women, said it would no longer degrade animals by showing them naked. The magazine’s statement on the Internet was accompanied by a black and white photo of two kittens in jumpsuits firing a cannon.

There was some naked publicity around in the form of bogus ads.

ThirdLove, a lingerie maker, partnered with DogVacay, a pet- sitting service, to unveil a line of dog brassieres. Restaurant chain Cheesecake Factory unveiled a “nacho cheesecake” dessert on Twitter but quickly assured diners it would not be available to cause heartburn in the real world.

New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College, which last year began using a robotic tackling dummy it called “MVP” to reduce the number of hits its players absorb during practice, said the robots would be used in games from next season.

“They’ll compete in the games for us … Our players will execute their responsibilities by remote control,” Head Football Coach Buddy Teevens said in a video. The film showed a robot, with no arms or legs, failing at football drills such as running stairs and catching passes.

Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz attempted to inject some levity into the campaign slugfest, tweeting that rival Donald Trump had accepted his invitation for a one-on-one debate, before noting it was intended as a joke.

Likewise, U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who dropped out of the Republican nomination race, vowed to make a campaign endorsement. But he said on Twitter only he was backing “entropy,” or disorganization.

Traditionally, a prank falls flat.

This year it was the turn of Google, which rolled out a feature called “Mic Drop” that allowed users to send emails and not see the replies.

Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), turned off the feature after users complained that it caused embarrassment in work communications.

“Due to a bug, the Mic Drop feature inadvertently caused more headaches than laughs,” Google rued.

(Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York and Matthew Liptak in Syracuse, New York; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Chris Reese, Frances Kerry and Dan Grebler)

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