Word’s just getting out that animal officers in Santa Cruz, Calif. captured a dog who evaded them for nearly two months. It took 80 tries and numerous highway closures before they were able to lure him to safety.
The dog, dubbed Highway Man because of his highway-closing escapades, had been living with transients when his people had to move from a homeless camp under the highway that parallels the beautiful California coast. He had been reported as sleeping near a busy highway exit, and California Highway Patrol officers were concerned about him darting out into traffic. So they teamed up with County Animal Services and set out to nab the 2-year-old Australian cattle dog mix.
Sounds simple, right? Not with Highway Man.
“We literally went out there 80 times,” field officer Todd Stosuy told the Santa Cruz Sentinel about their nearly two months of trying to rescue the dog. “All I ever saw of him was his butt because every time he would just run away.” On up to 10 occasions, the CHP shut down the highway for 10 minutes at a time as Animal Services staff tried in vain to nab the wily dog. Here’s a tale of one encounter, from an article in the Sentinel:
On one attempt, the catchers watched Highway Man enter the trap, a metal cage with a door that closes when triggered, only to watch him walk back out.
“He ingested tranquilizers, but didn’t go down,” Stosuy said. “It was pretty intense. We finally camouflaged the trap so well that it looked like a cave. We rubbed it down with lamb’s neck so he could get the scent.”
Finally one of the capture attempts worked, and Highway Man is no longer hitting the road. He is extremely shy and at first was very frightened of people, but his foster home is socializing him with the aim of getting him adopted by the end of August, according to the newspaper report.
The capture actually happened March 31, but word is just getting to the media now. Since his rescue, Highway Man has made excellent progress under the loving care of his experienced foster.
For more details, or if you’re interested in adopting him, check out the Santa Cruz Sentinel story.