The tiny white-and-brown Shih Tzu had eluded capture for more than two years, darting from Franconia residents, swiping house cats’ food and becoming a bit of a local legend when Fairfax County Animal Control officer Enna Lugo got the case.
Lugo first spied the 13-pound “Biscuit,” as area kids dubbed the dog, toward the end of January. He was sitting on a pile of leaves but squirmed away beneath a fence before she could grab him.
The brief encounter touched off a two-month hunt that would involve dozens of trips to the area around Beulah Street and Manchester Boulevard, days of detective work and even making calls during her off hours. The pooch’s plight touched Lugo. She had a Shih Tzu of her own.
“By the time I got there, he was so street smart he knew all the holes in the fences and hiding spots,” Lugo said of Biscuit.
Lugo attempted to track Biscuit, but each time she got close, he found an escape route. The crafty dog would lie down next to traps but never go inside. He constantly moved around Franconia, so it was difficult to pin him down.
Lugo decided on a new tack: She would organize a doggie dragnet.
On Saturday, she and about 14 Animal Control officers and volunteers went to a house where the dog had been sleeping on a patio. Biscuit wasn’t there, but a volunteer spotted the dog bedded down in a pile of leaves nearby. The dragnet closed.
The officers and volunteers surrounded the dog and captured him using pole nets. The dog was sedated and taken to Deepwood Veterinary Clinic in Centreville for treatment.
Veterinarian Wanda Pool said Biscuit’s hair was so dirty and matted that they shaved it off. When they were done, the diminutive dog was even smaller — the hair weighed three pounds. Pool removed 44 ticks and treated Biscuit for a skin infection.
Nevertheless, she said the dog is in good health. Area residents said they saw him eating cat food and picking through the trash.
“I was expecting him to be skinny, but he was in as good a condition as you could expect,” Pool said. “The little dogs aren’t as likely to survive under such conditions.”
One mystery remains: How did Biscuit come to live on the lam? No one is sure. Some Franconia residents said his owner had died and left him to fend for himself, while others said a neighbor moved and left him behind.
Whatever the answer, Lugo will be taking him home to rehabilitate him. Biscuit does not have basic training, such as how to walk on a leash. Eventually, he will be put up for adoption after he has had time to get used to people again.