Big Island community trying to rescue ‘Red’ before its too late
Since July, several residents in the Big Island community of Ocean View have been trying to rescue a greyhound-whippet mix affectionately known as “Red” because of his brindle coat.
Photos of the dog without a home have circulated on social media.
Over the past few days, residents have posted questions on the Ocean View Hawaiʻi Community Bulletin Board Facebook page: “Has anyone seen Red?” “Was anyone able to Catch Red please let me know??”
Jessica Mahley, who runs Pueo Puppy Sanctuary in Ocean View, said: “I think he used to be someone’s pet.”
Red is wearing a collar. But where he came from, nobody knows.
While the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates community rallies around lost dogs regularly to locate their owners or find them a new home, Red has captured people’s attention because he seems to stay in the same areas along Aloha Boulevard — just waiting.
Whether he was dumped or his owner died, area resident Stephanie Thompson said Red seems to be waiting for someone.
“It’s so heartbreaking,” she said. “He’s so beautiful. My big draw to helping him is his loyalty.”
Ocean View resident Victoria Klix said she was the first to post on social media about Red in August. After that, the community came together to feed him.
At one point, Klix said there were 60 people out on Aloha Boulevard trying to catch Red, but he’s too fast.
According to the website Whippetcentral, the greyhound-whippet mix are “lightning-fast runners, making them perfect for racing and hunting.”
Klix said Red also has created “traffic jams of people waiting for their turn to feed him.”
Over the past several months, Red has gone from looking relatively healthy to an injured and malnourished animal. He recently was spotted with an open wound on one of his back legs. Mahley, with the puppy sanctuary, suspects the injury to Red’s leg came from a trap, but she can’t be sure.
She fears Red’s leg might need to be amputated.
Hawaiʻi County Animal Control said it is familiar with Red and has been attempting to catch him over the last several months prior to his recent injuries.
“Many good Samaritans in the area have also been attempting to catch him and have been leaving food for him regularly in an effort to earn his trust,” Animal Control Director Regina Serrano said. “While we sincerely appreciate the community working together to rally around ‘Red,’ they may be unaware that they have been making it more challenging for Animal Control to trap/contain him as the public has been providing him with food regularly.”
Thompson has been searching for Red every evening for the past two weeks after photos on social media began circulating that showed the gash on one of his back legs.
On Sunday night, she spotted Red for the first time in months while in her car on upper Aloha Boulevard. Thompson said she threw him dog biscuits dipped in wet cat food from her car to gain his trust. Red came right to her vehicle and stayed there for nearly 30 minutes.
With Red by her car door, Thompson decided to get out of the car to try and coax him closer, but he backed into the brush.
Thompson left, planning to return the next day.
“But I got home, sat on the sofa about 15 minutes feeling sorry for myself and way more so for him, and I thought to myself, ‘no, I’m going back. It’s now or never, he was so close to me,'” Thompson said.
After changing into a pair of jeans, she went back to the area with the same food. Thompson waited for Red to come out of the woods when she got out of her car.
“To my surprise he wasn’t running away,” she said. “I also decided to be totally silent and not call out to him at all and hold a cat food-covered biscuit in my hand, and to my surprise he was inching towards me.”
Thompson thought she had Red. During those moments of silence as he inched toward her, Thompson said she pictured the dog at her home, on her dog bed being cared for and making a recovery.
However, a passing car scared Red, who dashed into the brush for the night.
“I was so angry and sad and disappointed I started crying. I cried all the way home,” Thompson said.
Mahley is hopeful Thompson will catch Red before Animal Control does, fearing the county agency will put him down due to the nature of his injury.
Similar to Animal Control’s assessment of the situation, Mahley believes that people feeding Red is hindering the rescue efforts.
Thompson thinks the best way to catch Red will be slipping a leash around his neck that doesn’t have a pole attached to it or being lured into a 10-foot-by-10-foot kennel with food.
Some Ocean View residents feel time is running out for Red due to the injury on his leg and lack of regular nutrition. Klix fears he will die and suspects the best way to catch him at this point is to tranquilize him with a blow dart.
“He’s a really sweet dog. He has a smile. He’s just scared,” Klix said. “He has a heart of gold and he totally deserves a good home and lots of love.”
As efforts to capture Red continue, Thompson said they don’t need more people trying to catch the dog. She’s also asking people to slow down while on Aloha Boulevard.
“Animal Control came close to having a loop stick around him in December, but a passerby stopped and began yelling from their vehicle to the Officer to not impound him, which unfortunately spooked the dog,” Serrano said. “My understanding from various reporting parties is that they too have experienced a similar scenario of witnesses stopping to inquire of the situation when they were within inches of containing him.”
Serrano said the public can best serve Red by providing regular location updates to Animal Control. The public can file sightings or new information regarding Red to the general shelter number at 808-327-3558 or [email protected].
After hours emergencies such as injuries may be called into Police dispatch at 808-935-3311.