0

Great Dane found after
missing more than a year

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Clayton County Animal Control officers have put extra effort into finding the owner of one lost animal: Advertising on Craigslist.

Officers posted pictures of the black-and-white Great Dane on the online classifieds site last Thursday, saying they couldn't find the owner, who has apparently given up on his lost dog.

"We'd love to reunite him with his owner," the listing reads. "If anyone recognizes this dog, and thinks they know who he used to belong to, please let them know where to find him."

When the dog first went missing, said Capt. Mark Thompson, commander of the unit, the owner came into the office everyday, asking if his dog had been found. Officers attempted to catch the Great Dane, but he escaped, eluding them in the woods off of Thomas Road in Jonesboro for more than a year.

"This is almost unheard of, an animal on the loose for a year," Thompson said. "But they couldn't catch him. He would simply run off into the woods. This dog is so big, he won't fit into any of our dog traps."

The owner of the Great Dane apparently didn't leave any information at animal control, except maybe posting a picture on the wall with the other notices of missing pets, pictures that are taken down after too much time has passed.

After checking in at the office daily, the owner eventually gave up, Thompson said. But animal control officers kept getting reports of the big dog.

Officer Tiffany Phillips said the dog would always be seen in that area -- Chatam Trail, Wellington Way, Nicholson Drive -- and the big "Harlequin"-colored Great Dane would be eating cat food or loping through the underbrush.

In July 2007, two officers chased the dog through the woods, but they could never get close, Phillips said.

"We saw him all the time," she said. "But he always evaded us."

A week ago, that changed. The Great Dane was reported sniffing around the kennel of a dog in heat and two officers were able to chase him into the kennel, catching the elusive animal.

Now, at the office on Government Circle in Jonesboro, the Great Dane is "a rock star," according to Thompson. The dog eats twice as much as a full-grown German Shepherd, and looks at his handlers with adoring, pale blue eyes.

They don't know who the owner is, though, and all the officers can recall is he was a Latino man in his 30s.

Thompson said it's unusual to advertise, looking for the owners of found dogs, but the officers knew how much trouble the owner went to, when the dog went missing.

"Once we discover there's a remote chance we could connect this animal to it's owner," Thompson said, "we're going to do whatever we can to connect this animal back to its owner. It certainly couldn't hurt."

Anyone with information about the owner of the missing Great Dane, can call animal control at (770) 477-3789.