Rescued dog fends off intruder hours after being adopted
A dog adopted just hours earlier from a pound likely saved a Hillsboro family from burglary Wednesday, and possibly an even worse fate.
Around 5 p.m., Rubert "Lee" and Elizabeth Littler adopted a 135-pound Saint Bernard from the Highland County Dog Pound. About six hours later the dog chased down a burglar that had allegedly cut telephone and cable lines to his new owner's West Pleasant Street home and was attempting (or already had) to enter a basement door on the back side of the home.
Up to that point, Lee said, the dog he had just named Hercules had not made a sound.
"I was taking Hercules out the back door to go to the bathroom and just had ahold of him by the collar, since the yard is fenced in," Lee said. "I had opened the main door, but not the screen door, when he started growling. The next thing I know he's pulled out of my hand and is going through the screen door.
"The guy must have just come up out of the basement when he heard me open the door. Anyway, Hercules jumped off the back porch, over the stairwell, and I see this guy running toward the fence (maybe 15 or 20 feet away). (Hercules) ran up and grabbed the guy by his ankle as he was going over the fence."
Lee said the suspected burglar was able to get away, but probably only because Hercules is still recovering from what a vet says was likely a coyote attack.
Hercules' odyssey to becoming a hero actually started at the end of last month.
Greenfield attorney Peter Quance said he was hiking with a Chillicothe-area doctor in Ross County on Saturday, Oct. 29 when they came across what they first thought was a log in the trail ahead of them. It turned out to be Hercules, who was bleeding and dehydrated, barely able to lift up his head.
Several people helped Quance get Hercules into his truck, and the dog was taken to Quance's home in Greenfield where he quickly perked up with water and food.
Quance took Hercules to Greenfield veterinarian James Orr on Monday, Oct. 31, and by looking at the dog's wounds, Quance said the doctor guessed that Hercules had been attacked by coyotes.
Antibiotics and pain medication evidently had Hercules feeling better by Wednesday, Nov. 2 when he scaled Quance's 6-foot-high fence.
After roaming around Greenfield for awhile, Hercules was soon taken to veterinarian Michael Sims' office and Highland County Dog Warden Tim Hart picked the dog up that afternoon.
While dog pound volunteers were actively looking for a safe place for Hercules to call home, along came Lee and Elizabeth Littler.
"Originally, we adopted him because we didn't want him to be euthanized. We thought we'd get him back up and going and see if we couldn't get him a new home or some rescue group to take him," said Lee, who has four other dogs. "But now we don't know what we're going to do. I think he's more or less earned his right to stay."
Hillsboro Police Chief Nick Thompson believes the Littler's incident may be related to another break-in earlier that day.
The police department said it received a report at 1:49 a.m. Wednesday from a resident in the 300 block of West Pleasant Street, who came home to find a male inside the home talking to himself. The resident told the man to leave, then called the police department. Nothing was found to be missing from the home, and the suspect was not located.
The suspect was described as a white male wearing a white T-shirt and gray sweatpants. He left the residence in an eastward direction.
The police said a similar incident was reported at 1 a.m. Thursday in the 200 block of West Pleasant.
The Littlers reported their incident to the police at 11:45 p.m. Thursday. This time the suspect was described as a male with dark clothing and white shoes, and he again left the residence in an eastward direction. The police department said it responded with an extensive search, but the suspect was not located.
The police chief said the suspect was bitten, but the extent of the suspect's injuries are unknown.
Thompson said he's not certain the two incidents are related.
"I don't have enough positive information to say that they are, but with it being on the same evening and the same street, and both at night, it's a good possibility," the chief said.
What's really troubling, Thompson said, is that the telephone and cable lines to the Littlers' home had been cut. He said that anyone seeing anything suspicious should make a good mental note of whatever they see and contact the police department at 393-3411. He said residents should make sure their windows and doors are locked.
The police chief also said patrols have been stepped up in the area.
"It concerns us that this person doesn't really seem concerned about getting caught or entering people's homes at night when they may be home," Thompson said. "This is a dangerous situation where someone could really get hurt."