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Animal Control Officer Nabs Elusive Shih Tzu

Officer’s dogged pursuit saves sly pup from life on the streets.

Before and after: Biscuit’s hair was dirty and matted, and filled with ticks when Animal Control officer Enna Lugo nabbed the elusive shih tzu on Saturday, April 6. At the vet, Biscuit was sedated and shaved, and treated for a skin infection. Other than that, he was found to be in good health and was estimated to be around 3 to 4 years old.

Before and after: Biscuit’s hair was dirty and matted, and filled with ticks when Animal Control officer Enna Lugo nabbed the elusive shih tzu on Saturday, April 6. At the vet, Biscuit was sedated and shaved, and treated for a skin infection. Other than that, he was found to be in good health and was estimated to be around 3 to 4 years old. Photo courtesy of Fairfax County Police

Just 13 pounds of matted fur and fluff, “Biscuit,” a sly shih tzu, evaded capture in the Franconia area for nearly two years, porch-surfing and stealing cats’ food to survive.

Until Enna Lugo got on the case two months ago. A Fairfax County Animal Control officer, Lugo was dogged and determined to rescue the rogue pup.

"I told the residents that even if it took me a year, I would catch Biscuit and get him to a loving home."

—Enna Lugo, Fairfax County Animal Control officer

According to police, Biscuit got his name from neighborhood children, who routinely caught glimpses of this lonely pup as he foraged for food or moved from one hiding place to another. Private citizens and rescue groups had been trying to catch Biscuit for many months when Lugo launched a doggie dragnet.

“Whenever I came to catch Biscuit, neighborhood residents would tell me the last place they had seen him," said Lugo, who has a shih tzu of her own. "Everyone tried to help get him off the streets."

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Before and after: Biscuit’s hair was dirty and matted, and filled with ticks when Animal Control officer Enna Lugo nabbed the elusive shih tzu on Saturday, April 6. At the vet, Biscuit was sedated and shaved, and treated for a skin infection. Other than that, he was found to be in good health and was estimated to be around 3 to 4 years old.

She used several methods to try to catch him, including trapping and tracking. "He would always find an escape route," she recalled. "When we tried to trap him, he would lie next to the traps but he would never go inside."

His origins are a mystery. Some residents said his owner had died and he had been left to fend for himself; others claimed that his owners moved away and left him behind.

Lugo said she knew that she needed manpower to catch the pup. This past Saturday, April 6, she and Animal Shelter staff worked together to assemble a team of officers and volunteers to bring Biscuit to safety.

When they arrived on the scene off of Manchester Boulevard and Beulah Road Saturday around 8 a.m., Biscuit was not in his usual spot under a residential patio, and Lugo was concerned that he had fled the area.

But he was soon spotted nearby, huddled in a nest of leaves where he had made a bed. Animal control officers and volunteers surrounded him, caught him with a net and transported him to the veterinarian.

At the vet, Biscuit was sedated and shaved. The vet removed more than 40 ticks and treated him for a skin infection. Other than that, he was found to be in good health and was estimated to be around 3 to 4 years old.

“Most surprisingly, Biscuit allowed Officer Lugo and the veterinary staff to hold and pet him. He seemed to know that his struggle was over and that he was in caring hands,” said Tawny Hammond, director of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter.

Lugo has offered to foster Biscuit to help him acclimate to living in a house with human companions. He will be available for adoption after he has had some time to readjust.

"Officer Lugo's initiative and tenacity exemplify the Fairfax County Police Department Animal Services Division’s commitment to fulfilling our mission; her work ensured safety of the citizens of Fairfax County and the compassionate rescue of an animal in need," Hammond said.

Lugo said she was happy and relieved at the outcome. "I told the residents that even if it took me a year, I would catch Biscuit and get him to a loving home."