(Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette)
Police officers chased her off-and-on throughout the morning as she jogged from McCook Elementary toward the YMCA, to the area around McDonald's and Wendy's, onto Heritage Hills Golf Course, east on J Street and O Street and back toward the school.
Later in the afternoon, about 5:30 p.m., officers discovered her on the playground at McCook Elementary and closed all the gates. The young female dog settled down for nap in the sunshine.
Lorie Prestes, of the McCook Humane Society and Animal Shelter, provided a live trap, and officers set it up and left the dog alone to find the bowl full of dog food. Officers posted signs asking everyone to stay off of the playground.
Unfortunately, an hour or so later, feeling the need to get away from several adults and two or three children rattling the fence, charging the fence and screaming and laughing loudly at her, "Flo-Jo" searched the fence line, wiggled through the narrow space between a gate and the fence, and escaped.
Unfortunately, that had been officers' best chance to capture the dog and get her to the shelter.
"We're all fond of animals," said McCook Police Chief Ike Brown Wednesday morning. "We're doing all we can to catch her and get her to the shelter."
Brown said that tranquilizing the dog is an option, however, officers have not been able to get close enough to use a tranquilizer. "We'll have to destroy her if we have no other choice. But that is not our goal," Brown said. "We're still hopeful we can catch up with her. We'll do what we can."
Brown said there are concerns that the longer she remains on her own, she may become aggressive and present a danger to the public. At that point, officers may have few options left available to them.
Lorie Prestes said she has had success with two of three strays captured and brought to the shelter. One stray was sedated through some food, she said, and brought to the shelter. "We tamed it down," Lorie said. "It took lots of patience and time, but we succeeded, and she's got a good home now."
Another dog had been so traumatized and teased and became so aggressive that she had to be put down, Lorie said.
Flo-Jo "is a runner," Lorie said, describing the German shepherd. "The longer she runs, the more ferrel she'll become."
Lorie said she appreciates all the efforts made by McCook police officers to catch up with the German shepherd. "They try really hard not to have to put a dog down," Lorie said. Putting the dog down "is an option that has to be addressed," she admitted, "for the public safety." But, Lorie said, she'd like to give the German shepherd a chance.
Chief Brown said this situation presents a good opportunity for parents and adults to teach children how to treat dogs -- "how inappropriate it is to tease, harass or be mean to dogs," he said. It is, in fact, against a city ordinance to act thus, he said.
He continued, "And it's foolishly dangerous to teach or encourage children to act that way. It places them in extreme danger."