TV: Sneaky canine eludes capture in Central Austin



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Posted on October 19, 2009 at 6:24 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 21 at 4:08 PM

His name is Mac. At 3 feet tall and 130 pounds, he shouldn't be difficult to see. But he's been difficult to see and find, ever since he ran away from home in Central Austin on September 26.


KVUE's Frank Volpicella reports

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Since the Great Dane's great escape, owner Chuck Smith has enlisted an army of volunteers and posted Mac's description on Facebook, Twitter, and Craigslist in hopes of finding his beloved companion.

"He's just a sweet dog a very sweet dog, and -- at this point -- a very scared dog," Smith told KVUE News on Monday. "He's like a kid to me."

Smith was out of town and someone was watching Mac when he bolted through the front door of his home on Newfield Lane in Central Austin. He's been spotted about eight times -- mostly along the eastside of the MoPac/Loop 1 frontage road. But so far, he's been able to escape capture.

Despite his size, Mac is skittish and afraid of people. His first owner abused him. He was often beaten. He lived in a small pen and had little if any human interaction. It's because of this abuse that Mac has been so difficult to catch. Anytime someone gets close, Mac gallops away. Even trained experts have been unsuccessful. Prima Mosi, the executive director of P.A.W.S. of Austin, an animal welfare and rescue organization, said, "We're going to have to be lucky to catch this boy, and we're going to need a lot of luck, and a lot of help."

In addition to the social media sites, missing pet flyers are posted on telephone poles, fences and front doors across Central Austin. Owner Chuck Smith also used a robo-calling service. He said he's contacted about 5,000 people by phone. About 30 volunteers have searched the area near MoPac and Enfield. Another tactic is to ask joggers and cyclists who use the Lady Bird Lake hike and bike trail to exercise in the area where Mac was last seen, in hopes that they would spot him.

Another course of action is baiting. Mac's favorite food is KFC's original recipe fried chicken. Searchers have used the Colonel's recipe to lure Mac into a trap. But so far, he's been able to outsmart everyone.

Smith is not deterred. He's confident Mac will be found. He said he won't give up, until his companion is back home, safe and sound.