KENT COUNTY, Mich., -- He's been spotted in several neighborhoods in the Forest Hills area for months. Multiple people have been able to catch the large brown dog nicknamed "Shaggy" on camera, but so far, Kent County Animal Control officers have not been able to capture him.
The dog, believed to be a Newfoundland mix between the ages of 1-5 is not aggressive. It's not clear where he came from or how long he has been surviving on his own.
"The dog is non-socialized, extremely skittish and runs whenever apprehended," said Joe Dainelis, Kent County Animal Control Supervisor. "If someone goes forward, he just runs. He goes for a jog in the woods, the ravines, the natural areas, and he'll come back when everything is quiet and calmed down."
Dainelis said multiple neighbors have been feeding the dog. Animal Control officers have made repeated attempts to rescue Shaggy, including traps and help from a John Ball Zoo veterinarian to try to tranquilize the animal. Dainelis said they are concerned about Shaggy's safety at this point.
"It's been reported that Shaggy has developed eye mucus, possible other health symptoms that has the neighborhood and Animal Control very concerned. If he stays at large, he can't be cared for properly," he said. "[Shaggy] does have a double coat so it's doing OK in this winter weather, but that being said, I'm sure it would be much better sleeping on someone's bed, keeping their feet warm."
Kent County Animal Control is asking neighbors to stop feeding Shaggy and is warning residents against trying to capture him on their own. Dainelis said they'd like to establish one central feeding location that the dog will become conditioned to coming to for food. That will eventually make it easier to catch him.
Once he's off the streets, Shaggy could become a great dog to adopt.
"I believe that with proper training and behavior modification, it will eventually end up in the right forever home," said Dainelis.