A brown and white dog that became a social media celebrity after being thrown from a truck and abandoned last week on Gold Ray Road has been caught after a week of eluding nearly a dozen well-meaning captors.
Jackson County Animal Services officers, with help from neighbors in the area, set a trap on private property and caught the dog late Wednesday night in the Rogue River area north of Central Point. He then willingly jumped into an animal services truck similar to the type of truck he was dumped from.
County shelter officials say extra care will be given to determine how he ended up being abandoned, and if someone should try to claim ownership, they’ll have some serious explaining to do.
The medium-size dog made it into local news reports and social-media feeds when neighbors along Gold Ray Road posted on Facebook about a white truck, possibly a Dodge or Ford model, pulling onto the rural road the night of June 29 and dumping the dog. Witnesses said the dog chased the driver for more than a quarter mile as the truck sped away.
In the week that followed, Facebook followers showed up to try and catch the dog and to leave food and water.
During his romp in the wooded area along the river, the dog would peek his head out of bushes to get a closer look at a dozen or so good Samaritans trying to help.
When light-colored trucks drove into or near the area, he would appear, excitedly barking, to chase the truck, said Jacksonville resident Katie Hood, who tried to catch him.
“It was so sad,” she said. "He was barking and racing after the truck but, after the truck was gone, he took off again."
Enforcement supervisor Jon Rhodes said he took the dog, identified as a Queensland heeler mix, into county animal shelter for processing Thursday morning. The dog was dirty but not malnourished and seemed healthy. Despite his wariness of rescuers, his disposition, after he was caught, has been endearing.
“He was just walking around through people’s ranches up there and just hanging out,” Rhodes said. "He kept coming back to this one travel trailer, so that was where we set the trap. He’s safe and sound at the shelter, and he turned out to be a really, really sweet little dog.
“When they don’t want to be caught, they can be pretty good at avoiding. He didn’t know what anybody’s intentions were until we caught him. The funny thing was, when I got him on a leash, I said, ‘Get in the truck,’ and he jumped right up.”
Central Point resident Ashley Cates, whose parents saw the dog being “literally thrown from” the white truck, was relieved to know he was safe.
“I'd just like the community to know about all the resources available in these difficult situations,” she said. “There are people, services and organization that are all good options when you can no longer care for a pet. Dumping them on the side of the road is not an option.”
Rhodes said no one had stepped up to claim ownership of the dog — and if they do they'll have some questions to answer.
“I’ve placed a hold on him at the shelter," Rhodes said, "so that, if somebody says they’re the owner, we are going to sit down and have a long, heartfelt discussion about how he got into the situation he was in.”
Rhodes said a minimum four-day hold would be in place, after which the dog would be assessed and likely put up for adoption.
— Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at firstname.lastname@example.org.