Animal Control in a rural area of central Michigan says it rescued Zaria, a Great Dane who was on the run from her owners and evaded attempts at recapture for a month.
Clare County Animal Shelter said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that Zaria had been successfully captured, marking the end of the saga that caught the attention of dog lovers on the internet. A follow-up post, which has garnered more than 1,600 comments, thanked the community for its support and included a photo of the white and brown Great Dane starting to recover after being malnourished on her own for a month.
Zaria went missing on the night of Aug. 17 from her home in Harrison, a small town in the center of Michigan’s lower peninsula, according to a report from the shelter. The post described the dog as 2 years old, 50lbs and skinny due to her high metabolism as well as being very friendly but afraid of herding.
Animal Control Officer Bob Dobson told the Morning Sun last month that Zaria was on Cranberry Lake, northeast of Harrison, and was severely emaciated. Officers spotted the wayward dog with a drone, but Dobson said animal control was following Zaria slowly and carefully.
“We didn’t want to push her [too] hard as you can see in the picture, we don’t want to exhaust her [too] a lot, it could kill her,” Dodson said in the Facebook post featuring a photo of a thinning Zaria, the skin hugging the ribs of her large body as she waded through the island’s reeds.
Harrison Lumber donated pallets to help create a better path to the island for volunteers, who had been warned they would get very wet, Dodson said in the post. He added that Moore’s Lost K9 Search and Recovery has set up traps on the island. “Fingers crossed,” he said.
Dodson told TNZT affiliate TNZT-TV in August that he suspects Zaria slipped off her leash when she was kicked outside by her owner one night and started running, falling into the water and swimming until she reached the island. .
Dodson confirmed the dog was now in “that fight or flight mode,” the station said. “She’s in airplane mode now.”
The swampy conditions on the island made more conventional rescue techniques less effective, the station reports. After setting two traps on the island, rescuers began placing hot dogs, mac & cheese, and breakfast sandwiches nearby to lure Zaria inside.
After setting the traps, Zaria began eating and drinking daily, but didn’t get close enough to the trap to activate it, TNZT affiliate WPBN reported. Dodson also advised people looking to capture the dog that the island is privately owned and that the owner had threatened trespassing.
Moore’s Lost K9 Search and Recovery said in a Facebook post earlier in September that Zaria grew more confident and stepped further into the trap each time she entered. But the company said intruders on the island scared Zaria.
“Zaria is constantly looking around and shying back to the deep swamp with extra noise,” the company said in a statement. “This setback has cost Zaria a lot.”
The company said in a statement last week that it would end its efforts after it spent “hundreds of hours and sleepless nights conditioning Zaria for multiple traps” after the property owner said he would no longer cooperate. The company said Zaria watched as they removed their equipment, leaving the recovery to the province’s animal control department.
Animal Control ultimately saved Zaria, who has been examined by a vet and will be fed several small meals a day until her system can adjust to increased feedings.
News week contacted Clare County Animal Shelter for comment.