Florida Keys

Dog chews through locked shed door to free herself and a pal from confinement

A Florida Keys animal control officer is greeted by Phoenix and Roscoe, two dogs found abandoned in a shed Jan. 28 on Big Pine Key after a home on the property burned down.
A Florida Keys animal control officer is greeted by Phoenix and Roscoe, two dogs found abandoned in a shed Jan. 28 on Big Pine Key after a home on the property burned down.

They survived together, these dogs renamed Roscoe and Phoenix.

Now, the Lower Keys pair will separate to find loving homes in the Florida Keys after dodging death in a horrid event that begins with a house fire and ends with cruel abandonment by their owners.

They have been through more than their share of pain and fear, animal control officers said. First fire tore through their home Jan. 27 on Big Pine Key’s Sandy Circle.

Then, before or after, someone put them inside a shed on the same property and locked the deadbolt behind them.

“There’s no door knob,”said Tammy Fox, executive director of the Florida Keys SPCA, when asked if it could have been an accident. “Someone had to lock the door with a key. Can you imagine? That dog had just gone through a fire and was put in a shed and locked there in the dark, in the heat. She was frantically trying to escape.”

Roscoe, part Chihuahua, and Phoenix, a white floppy-eared cattle dog mixed breed with a bit of Boxer in her face, both 3, somehow forged an escape hatch from that shed Jan. 28, one day after the fire in which no human injuries were reported..

But the two dogs were found frantic and one bloody after one broke through the wooden door with teeth and paws.

Phoenix chewed through the door and broke a window, leaving gashes and cuts on her face, according to the Florida Keys SPCA.

The hole she chewed through, however, worked. It was wide enough for little Roscoe to make his escape. Neighbors soon reported seeing a little brown stray dog running around the lot.

Animal control officers responded to find Roscoe on the loose. Neighbors told them to look in the shed, where the white dog they would christen Phoenix after the image of one rising from the ashes, had her face stuck in the hole they believe Roscoe escaped through.

“Her wounds have healed,” Fox said this week.

The presumed dog owners, the burned-down property dwellers, disappeared, Fox said. The dogs weren’t chipped.

“All we know is they came from that property,” Fox said, of the dogs.

Of the house fire survivors, “We don’t know where they went,” she said.

Well-nourished and cheerfully posing for photos, the two dogs are off to new lives. Roscoe this week found a Keys family and Phoenix awaits her new chapter on life at the Marathon animal shelter.

Shelter officials would have preferred the pair stay together, but the reality of pet adoption makes that more than difficult to orchestrate.

“That’s where my heart goes,” said Fox, of wanting the dogs adopted into one home. “What ends up happening is we keep holding these dogs in the shelter waiting for a perfect home for the two of them, they wind up not finding a home at all.”

A Siberian Husky staged an escape attempt from a pet hospital in China. Surveillance video shows him prying open his cage door with his mouth, and even letting out a couple of his canine friends. The dog made no attempt to set the cats free.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen

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