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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Queen of the road captured

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Phantom is now in the hands of the Humane Society as they attempt to rehabilitate her for domestic life. Photo by Michael Fischer
The queen of the road, known to others as the phantom German shepherd who resided under a bridge on Highway 71 south of Spencer for about a year, has been caught.

Despite Dr. Mark Reese -- a local veterinarian's-- concerns, the capture plan was executed smoothly.

"I had nightmares about how the plan could go wrong but it all worked out without drama," he said. "We told all of the people we knew who were feeding her to stop for a couple days, so she would be hungry and in the end we mixed anesthetics with mashed potatoes and gravy. Within an hour and a half of putting the food out, they were able to get her."

According to Dr. Reese, she was scared but not mean when they finally got her. She was also healthy. Phantom -- which is her official name now-- was then turned over to the Humane Society in Milford.

The Humane Society put her in foster care on July 26 to start her rehabilitation into domestic life. Director Kate Whitrock shared how Phantom is doing but said she could not give out the name of the designated foster parent.

"We are withholding the name for obvious reasons, but primarily we need to make sure Phantom has an opportunity to be reintroduced to the concept of being a domestic dog," Whitrock said. "We think she was probably a pet before this incident so she just needs to be re-acclimated."

The Humane Society is overseeing the process, and Whitrock reports that it will be a slow process with her. She said the first step is to establish a bond between the dog and the handler, this allows an assurance of safety for both of them.

"This may take a couple of weeks. She is, however, settled in and not trying to escape," she said. "It's necessary to take the process slow because if you throw too much at this dog at one time she could get frustrated and try to bite, which would be the worst situation."

Whitrock also emphasized those who were feeding Phantom, should stop placing food at the site because it will just draw wild animals to the highway.

Phantom is under protection and safe, but only time will show how she adapts. The next step after she is trained to behave like a domestic dog is to place her in a home. Whitrock assured that this will not be done until they are 100 percent sure she is not a threat to anyone.

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Glad they caught her. Looks like a good dog who deserves a good forever home. Good work Mark.

-- Posted by CITIZEN SAM on Sat, Jul 31, 2010, at 9:32 AM

I am impressed and pleased. Best of luck to all involved.

-- Posted by communicate on Sat, Jul 31, 2010, at 9:39 AM

Boy, go from living free and not bothering anyone to being drugged, put in a cage, and possibly killed if she doesn't domesticate.....who's brilliant idea was this?

-- Posted by Beanieboy100 on Sat, Jul 31, 2010, at 9:55 AM

I applaud Dr. Reese and the Humane Society. It would only have been a matter of time before Phantom was hit by a car or died from disease. Now she can have her vaccinations and make someone a loving pet.

-- Posted by indigo on Sat, Jul 31, 2010, at 1:13 PM

I am so thankful that it was captured and was not run over by a passing motorist. Thanks to all.

-- Posted by Williet on Sat, Jul 31, 2010, at 1:50 PM

what a slap in the face for people for pets. they place many pets into happy homes. i'm glad they saved the dog but don't judge where he goes both are great places to adopt a pet and they all do a great job. if the dog was placed at people for pets it would have been loved and taken care of and they would have found him a home too.

-- Posted by arlene stewart on Sun, Aug 1, 2010, at 4:51 PM

People for Pet is a wonderful organization. I've been out to their shelter and they are the only help for so many animals. The issue isn't the shelters, it is the careless pet owners.

-- Posted by OGreatOne on Sun, Aug 1, 2010, at 5:08 PM

Yes mayby but happy it went to the humane society

-- Posted by a colt fan on Sun, Aug 1, 2010, at 9:28 PM

Beanieboy100, this dog is NOT going to be "possibly killed." Your statement is malicious and FALSE!

-- Posted by IowaRox on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 10:52 AM

What does it matter where Phantom was placed? She is now safe from the elements and passing cars. I just hope that the HSNWI sticks with this girl and doesn't put her down to make 'room'. (I don't know their policy regarding that)

I'm sure she is being loved and well taken care of in her foster home. My thanks go out to you for opening your home and your heart to this precious looking girl!

-- Posted by puppyluv on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 1:43 PM




-- Posted by barbshroyer on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 2:09 PM

Yes, Beanieboy, it certainly would have been better if she had gotten hit on the road. Maybe she could've taken a motorist down with her. (I'm full of sarcasm today, so I apologize to everyone else)

-- Posted by notinia on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 3:21 PM

I visited the website of the Humane Society of Northwest Iowa in Milford. After reading its mission statement, I don't think it is a no-kill shelter. This is why some readers are concerned about whether the dog will ultimately be euthanized. In the article shelter director Whitrock said that the dog will not be placed into a home unless "they are 100 per cent sure she will not be a threat to anyone". This may or may not mean it will be euthanized. But a no-kill shelter, after determining a dog would be a threat, will house the dog for the rest of its life without adopting it out. A kill shelter would euthanize this type of dog.

-- Posted by communicate on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 6:04 PM

What ever happened to trying to find the original owers? I thought the thought was the dog was from a car accident situation? Surely law enforcement could give a shelter situation the names from that and try to find the owners or family of them. They may have been terribly upset by the loss of the dog? I know I would be lost if I was in that situation! My pets are like my children! I wish the best for the dog regardless of what becomes of it.

-- Posted by cjb6154 on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 6:24 PM

The Humane Society of NWIA has a 99% adoption rate. That is about as "no kill" as it gets.

Phantom will be fine.

The HSNWIA does not euthanize to make room. It only euthanizes when the health of the animal warrants it or if the animal is very dangerous. They put a lot of effort into the animals in their care. They don't just let them sit in a kennel/cage. They work with and train every animal that comes into their care. They take pride in their efforts to rehabilitate animals.

cjb6154 - Phantom had been loose for a year. I think that was ample time for her owners to re-claim her.

-- Posted by IowaSkye on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 7:44 PM

"cjb6154 - Phantom had been loose for a year. I think that was ample time for her owners to re-claim her."

Not if the people were not from the area and couldn't find her because she was still in hiding. Just because she was seen around for a year doesn't mean she wasn't missing for longer. It also doesn't mean the owners stopped looking for her. Maybe they are not looking in the right place. After so long owners assume the worst and may stop looking. Or not looking so hard anyway.

And who said anything about just letting the HSNWI animals just 'sit' in a kennel/cage? Of course they let the animal out and give it the attention they need and work with them.

-- Posted by puppyluv on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 8:29 AM

For any given period of time the formula for animal shelters' animal statistics is -- number of animals adopted plus number of animals euthanized equals number of animals taken into the shelter. One of those figures alone does not determine whether a shelter is a kill or no-kill facility.

-- Posted by communicate on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 8:52 AM

Imagine if all the people concerned about this dog adopted a shelter pet in her honor.

Consider if this were a mangy looking male staffordshire terrier (pit bull) that snapped out of fear. He'd have been killed on sight.

-- Posted by helped_myself on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 10:09 AM

I drive Hwy 71 South of Spencer every day. When I first started seeing her, obviously you'd slow down because you didn't know what she was going to do, but after a while, you just knew she would never cross the road in front of you. It was kind of nice seeing her every day. Every once in a while you'd see cars stopping to drop off food or just to watch her for a while. It was kind of neat.

I don't know how true this is but I had heard that the person in the accident passed away, which would explain why they haven't come back for her, but again, I don't know how true that is.

I have also wondered about the Humane Society and how long the animals will be there before they are put down, I hope they don't put her down, she was doing fine on her own and there were many people making sure she was fed and to have her taken away and put down would be a great disappointment. I truly hope the Humane Society takes good care of her.

-- Posted by smalltownboy0081 on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 10:36 AM

The Humane society is wonderful with all animals. She will be well taken care of and entered into the social world of being a good companion dog.I do wonder why People four Pets didn't get her-being that she was closer to Spencer than Milford.

-- Posted by iowagirl on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 10:52 AM

i have adopted a few pets from the humane society and i have six cats and most of them came from the humane society and the oldest cat is now fourteen i have no complaints

-- Posted by arlene stewart on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 11:20 PM

Nikki, I don't doubt that people called to report her running, I can see people doing that in fear that she would run in front of them, but I have never heard anyone say she actually did. I'm not saying she didn't, I'm just saying I never saw her run on the road at all and never heard anyone say that. It's too bad that they gave them this decision to make, but I'm glad to hear she is doing good. I'm sure she was obviously scared out there.

I also agree, do not abandon your pets, you chose to have them, if you don't want them, find someone who does. I hope that this dog wasn't abandoned on purpose.

-- Posted by smalltownboy0081 on Wed, Aug 4, 2010, at 12:03 PM

I'm glad she has found a good home, and this was good article. It's stressful times, and articles like this piece go a long way in giving people some joy and just a little satisfaction and peace of mind to see a happy ending for once.

-- Posted by dbaymiller on Wed, Aug 4, 2010, at 6:32 PM

I have seen the dog run out in front of a car. It about gave me a heart attack.

-- Posted by stafinois on Wed, Aug 4, 2010, at 7:15 PM

I would say the Clay county sheriffs Dept has a cold heart. If I still lived in spencer I would tell them that in person. It was not the responsbability of the neighbors to try to catch the dog. Why didn't the Sheriffs Dept contact the humane society to get some help for the dog?Any one that would shoot that dog needs to get a large fine and spend some time.Its not the dogs fault.

-- Posted by iowagirl on Thu, Aug 5, 2010, at 10:41 AM

Agreed, Nikki. It's not the motorists' fault, either- the Sheriff's Dept has a responsibility to protect them.

-- Posted by notinia on Thu, Aug 5, 2010, at 6:14 PM

for more information on this dog go to the Humane Scoiety of Nw Iowa and visit the link http://humanesocietyofnwia.com/Phantom.a...

-- Posted by Nikki on Sun, Aug 29, 2010, at 8:46 AM

To see a video of Phantoms adoption Please go to


-- Posted by Nikki on Sun, Sep 12, 2010, at 5:40 PM

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