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Published: Monday, 7/27/2009

Rescuers finally corral elusive pooch

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

GENOA The dog who couldn t be caught was caught Sunday thanks to a four-wheeler and a feisty 13-year-old who loves animals.

More than a dozen volunteers from area rescue groups got together first thing Sunday morning with the goal of catching the mixed-breed dog dubbed Genoa that had been living in fields near the town by the same name since last fall.

Brendon Scherf, 13, of Fremont came out with his mother, Laurie Heck, but Brendon said he wasn t too sure the group would be able to catch the pooch.

I was a little unsure with the big field there, but we finally worked together and were able to catch her, he said.

Cindy Koepfer, a Toledoan who has been driving out to feed and befriend the dog since early April, was thrilled that her quest was finally over.

Like an idiot, I cried, Ms. Koepfer said.

The black and tan dog had eluded both the Ottawa County dog warden and the county s humane society, which made repeated attempts to capture it.

Man, am I glad that dog is caught, Nancy Silva, humane officer for Ottawa County, said after learning of Genoa s capture. Finally, finally, finally.

Megan Feicht, shelter manager for the Humane Society of Ottawa County, said Genoa is now safe inside a kennel at the shelter in Port Clinton.

The dog is scheduled to see a veterinarian today and, when all is clear health-wise, will be put up for adoption.

She s in a kennel. She s got food and water. She s really scared so we re going to let her chill out for a little bit, Ms. Feicht said. She s safe here. We re a no-kill shelter.

Ms. Feicht was among about 14 people who met up at the McDonald s restaurant at I-280 and Libbey Road at 7 a.m. yesterday. The group set out about 7:25 a.m. for the area where Genoa had been known to hang out. On the way, Ms. Koepfer spotted the dog.

We were on [State Rt.] 163 right by the railroad tracks when we saw the dog, Ms. Feicht said.

We all pulled over and we all kind of jumped out of our vehicles. There was no plan. We just wanted to get this dog.

Lisa Hochradel, clinic director for Humane Ohio in Toledo, had brought a four-wheeler and soon had it off her truck headed for the field where the dog was seen.

Lisa was acting like a border collie going around the dog in circles, Ms. Feicht said.

At one point the dog headed for the Ohio Turnpike, but Ms. Hochradel was able to keep it away from the busy roadway.

Brendon, an eighth grader at St. Joseph School in Fremont, said he got close to Genoa one time before he was able to grab the dog and hold it.

The first time we got close to her I was a little leery of catching her because she did look like she was about to bite, but that was probably because she was scared, Brendon said.

When we caught her, she didn t bite anybody. She was a little nippy, but she was scared. It was really exciting.

Mary Schoenhofer of Rossford, who runs her own rescue called One Dog at a Time, said the dog was tired but was not mean.

She never tried to bite. She was just too tired, Ms. Schoenhofer said.

I think that was the only way we could ve caught her by tiring her out.

Back at McDonald s, employees gave Genoa a sausage biscuit and water and congratulated the rescue team with cookies and drinks.

I think she ll come around and be a really nice dog, Ms. Feicht said.

She never once tried to bite anyone. She s just an unsocialized dog. I don t think there s a mean bone in her body.

I don t think we ll have trouble finding her a home.

As for Brendon, he said his family has its hands full with four dogs and two cats.

They also serve as a foster home for a mother cat and her four kittens.

He and his mother also walk the dogs at the humane society shelter every week.

Ms. Koepfer said she would have to move if she adopted Genoa but would be willing to do that.

She said Genoa had been in a trial adoption home near Marblehead when the dog disappeared, and she would not want the dog to return there.

If they have to give her back to whoever, I would rather I would get her, Ms. Koepfer said.

I would just have to find someplace else to live because I can t have dogs where I live now. I would do that rather than her going back.

Ms. Feicht said as far as she knows the dog was never reported missing and was not adopted through the humane society.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at:jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-724-6129.



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