Animal Control officer and Elko, Nevada resident Cindy Danielson has spent the better part of 6 years trying to catch one loose dog: a Basset Hound mix with a daredevil streak, appropriately named Snakebite.
Snakebite earned his name not by being aggressive — the pup has always appeared friendly, but shy — but by being quite the daring escape artist.
Despite countless attempts to bring the crafty Basset mix in out of the elements — Danielson using everything from humane dog traps, lures with tasty treats inside, and even a tranquilizer gun — the seasoned animal control officer says Snakebite always seemed to magically evade capture.
“Snakebite was far too clever for any of this,” Danielson tells the Elko Daily Free Press.
In fact Snakebite would sooner run across a busy street than get caught—and he has done so multiple times, the elusive Hound bolting into heavy traffic to avoid animal control officers. Instead he preferred to split his time between town and a flagpole along Interstate 80.
Snakebite wasn’t always a loose dog; his original owners abandoned him at the local Motel 6 all those years ago. Danielson has had a soft spot for Snakebite ever since.
Over last winter, Snakebite had made friends with another loose dog — a Chow Chow–Border Collie mix who showed up in Elko. It turned out the Chow mix and Snakebite were kindred spirits, mostly because they simply refused to be captured.
The two dogs just seemed happy as clams to live a roaming life, Danielson explains. On hot days, she often saw the pair of pooches by Snakebite’s flagpole, lying in holes under the sagebrush in order to stay cool. But the two buddies also made sure to maintain their social life in Elko, showing up on the high school football field frequently.
“They befriended some of the football teams,” Danielson says of Snakebite and his friend, “and I know they get lots of hotdogs at the games.”
“Some even call Snakebite their mascot,” she adds.
September 10 Danielson got a call from employees at the Elko Head Start School—Snakebite and his Chow mix buddy were there at the school visiting some students. A call like this was nothing out of the ordinary; over the years, Danielson has taken many calls from Elko residents who have spotted Snakebite, or more recently Snakebite and his pal. But when Danielson arrived at the school, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
“When I got there, I saw both of them being petted and I was like, ‘You have to be kidding me!” Danielson remembers.
“One of the employees told me they were the sweetest dogs,” she adds. “Both of them came right up to me and were licking my hand and wagging their tails. They both allowed me to put leashes on them.”
After 6 long years, it seemed Snakebite was finally ready to give up his life on the lam and set down some roots—no traps, no strategically-placed treats, and no tranquilizers needed. Danielson brought the pair to the Elko Animal Shelter that afternoon.
“Snakebite has had to fend for himself for too long, and he deserves a loving home,” Danielson says. “Both dogs are awfully friendly for being on their own.”
Danielson’s wish for Snakebite finally came true on October 1, the Las Vegas Sun reports. Snakebite and his Chow mix companion were both adopted by the same Elko family this week.