Canine escape artist back behind bars

David Ward
Tuesday October 5, 2004
The Guardian

Red, leader of possibly the biggest break-out in canine history, could probably whistle the theme from The Great Escape if you asked him nicely and lobbed him a Bonio.

Red has lived at Battersea dog's home in London since June, when he was taken to a police station in an emaciated state.

He is happy at the home but staff, baffled by chaos in the kitchen and free-ranging inmates, discovered that he had not lost his old scavenging ways.

Video footage revealed that he had learned how to use his snout and teeth to open his kennel. Then he would draw back the bolts on the kennels of his mates, starting with his best friend Lucky; one night he liberated no fewer than nine inmates for a midnight feast.

Becky Blackmore, from the dogs' home, said staff could not work out how the dogs had broken out: there were no tunnels and no dog had sand down his trouser legs.

"We had come in to chaos in the morning," she said.

"It happened probably about a dozen times. We would come in to lots of dogs out on their block.

"They had had lots of food, lots of fun and games and caused loads of mess. We weren't too sure what was going on."

She told GMTV that extra cameras were set up to watch areas not covered by CCTV. Red's skills were then observed.

"It is amazing really because lurchers aren't particularly renowned for their intelligence," she added. Red's kennel has now been made escape proof. They hope.