SAN DIEGO — A frightened Chihuahua seen running through traffic around San Diego this month was finally lured to safety with the help of some tasty snacks — and now it has those treats to thank for its namesake.
The small, tan dog was running the San Diego Humane Society ragged, popping up in numerous reports from drivers between Jan. 14 and Jan. 25, according to the agency.
The dog had at least six close encounters with traffic, running along busy streets like Murphy Canyon Road and even onto Interstate 15. Officials set traps near that freeway’s center divider in Grantville, believing the dog was living somewhere within the structure. That effort was to no avail.
Officers from the Humane Society’s law enforcement division and even a unit from California Highway Patrol didn’t have better luck chasing the animal down — it was skittish and proved plenty elusive during various encounters.
On Jan. 25, the pugnacious pup was spotted on Ruffin Road, a little farther north in Kearny Mesa. Officer Blackburn with SDHS got the call and tried to be patient, letting the skittish animal come to her, the organization said. A person from a nearby business left out some Cheetos for the dog before calling to report it, and the Chihuahua was willing to stick around and snack on the cheesy corn puffs if people kept their distance.
Picking up on that tack, Blackburn added some wet cat food to the mix, creating a trail to the courtyard of the property (the Humane Society was quick to note that the business gave their blessing on this strategy).
The little dog took the bait. It followed the trail into the courtyard and employees closed the gate behind it. Officer Blackburn swooped in with a towel and scooped up the dog — in custody at last. It was identified as a male, unneutered and about 2 years old. He got checked by the medical team and was treated for fleas, but was otherwise not much worse for the wear, according to the Humane Society.
The dog lacked a microchip and a collar, so the organization placed him on “stray hold,” not allowing him to be adopted and hoping an owner would come forward. They shared photos and videos on social media to try to get the word out, but as of Friday morning, no one had claimed the dog.
The shelter has nicknamed the little pup “Cheeto Murphy,” for the street he used to frequent and, of course, his snack of choice. His stray hold expires on Saturday. At that point, he will be neutered and then put up for adoption, as long as no one has come forward as his caretaker.
You can learn more about adoptions through the San Diego Humane Society on their website.