Friday, January 19, 2007
Wild Packs of Shih-Tzus?
By TUCKER McQUEEN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/19/07
Be on your guard. The Shih Tzus are loose in east Cobb.
Residents of a condominium community on Powers Ferry Road have sounded the alarm that a pack of noisy, furry little dogs has been free-ranging on their property.
Property manager Leonard Danuloff of the Covered Bridge Condo Association uses a dish of water to try to coax one of two stray Shih Tzu dogs that have lived in the neighborhood for at least four weeks and have so far eluded residents as well as animal control workers.
The two stray Shih Tzus originally were four. One was a road victim, and another has disappeared. Some residents indulge the dogs; others want them gone.
Four shaggy little dogs, bearing an uncanny resemblance to agitated rag mops with teeth, first appeared shortly before Thanksgiving.
Residents don't know how the dogs, likely Shih Tzu mixes, shed their lives of domestication. Most recently, they have only spotted two of the dogs. Reportedly, one was killed a few weeks ago after straying onto nearby Powers Ferry Road. Another is, apparently, on the lam.
The skittish canines have run circles around would-be captors. They yap at anyone who tries to come close.
Condo resident Marti Kelefas said they have avoided being lassoed, netted or tricked into a cage.
Cobb animal control officers were called in and set a trap. They couldn't nab the dogs but did snare someone's long-haired cat.
One concerned neighbor suggested they use a tranquilizer gun, but officials pointed out those are normally reserved for large game, not 7-pound canines.
Covered Bridge condo manager Leonard Danuloff cornered the pups inside the swimming pool fence. The wily dogs dug under the fence and escaped.
Gabriella Toth is determined to tame the pooches and give them a home.
"People act as if they are 400-pound tigers," she said. "They bark a lot, but they are scared and don't know what else to do."
And Toth believes the pair might be adding to their number soon. She said one of the pooches is suspiciously plump.
In the condo office, Danuloff watched the male dog guarding his mate as Toth approached them.
Bringing food and water four times a day, Toth is honing her skills as a Shih Tzu handler.
On Wednesday she thought she was close to catching them ... up until the moment they scooted away.
"They are just so damn cute," she said. "If I don't feed them, they will die."
Animal Control officials warn that feeding them makes catching the canines more difficult, but Toth has ignored the advice. One homeowner brings them chicken and another serves them fried eggs.
Toth built an insulated doghouse on a covered bridge at the rear of the neighborhood and filled it with stuffed animals and warm blankets. She provides distilled water so they won't drink out of a nearby creek.
Not all of the condo's residents are sympathetic. Toth said she saw a large man kicking at the dogs.
She told him she would break every bone in his legs if he hurt them.
Another homeowner, Wendy Bassner, became concerned after one of the dogs came after her Jack Russell terrier. She had heard there was a pack of wild dogs loose in the neighborhood.
But somehow the terms "wild" and "Shih Tzu" don't seem to go together.
In recent weeks she has warmed to them.
"They shouldn't be out here in the cold, she said. "They should be someone's pampered pets. They should have a nice home."