Update: Nacho was reunited with his family Wednesday evening.
With a few minutes to spare — and the rain beginning to trickle down — the escape artist tightened his core, pushed forward with his nose and wiggled through an opening in the gate.
Now, he’s missing, and not only does he have an audience — and dozens of neighbors worried sick — but the cops are on the case.
No, this isn’t Harry Houdini we’re talking about, and this escape act wasn’t planned. Nacho, a 5-month-old American Bulldog who escaped from his Biscayne Park home on Tuesday, has the small Miami-area town up in arms. He escaped from his home Tuesday around 9 a.m., and is believed to have been dog-napped.
Biscayne Park Police Chief Luis Cabrera said his troops are on the job. Nacho, he said, has escaped before.
“This is at least the second time we know of,” said the chief. “We have some description of the person who he was last around, so we’re working on it.”
Nacho’s owner Jose Henao said Nacho has a knack for disappearing. But last time, a Biscayne Park police officer found him and returned the 6-month-old puppy.
So Tuesday, before Henao jumped into the shower, he stacked stuff up like a bike and some cans in front of the gate the pup had managed to squeeze through at his home near Northeast Eighth Avenue and 115th Street.
It didn’t work. It took Nacho less than two minutes to escape. The dog used his nose to push through the gate and squeeze away.
“It was so fast,” said a clearly distraught Henao.
Henao said he was told that a Biscayne Park code compliance officer was petting Nacho before she left him with another — unknown — man who may have aducted the pup. An employee who answered the phone at the code compliance office Wednesday afternoon said she had received a missing-dog flier for Nacho but did not know anything about the allegation. A phone call left with the office supervisor was not immediately returned.
“Maybe the mystery guy has him,” Henao said.
Henao, who is married, said his 6-year-old son is taking it hardest.
“He misses him so much. It’s like his brother,” said Henao.
Ruth Palmieri, a dog trainer, posted on Facebook Tuesday that she saw a code compliance officer on Eighth Avenue holding Nacho and talking to a man she believed to be the dog’s owner.
“I figured they would take the dog in so I continued with my visit,” Palmieri wrote. “When I came back outside, I saw a man running with no shirt calling ‘Nacho.” I approached and said, did you lose a dog? He said YES! I told him Code Enforcement has it.”
Palmieri said she got in touch with the officer who had Nacho and the officer said she gave the dog to the man she had been speaking to, not Henao.
She later found out the man was not Henao.
“The dog is now missing,” Palmieri wrote. “She did not get any information about the man and could not describe him. The owner, Jose, lives right where dog was abducted. He and his wife and little boy are devastated.”
Maria Colorado, Henao’s wife, said her family has passed out 250 fliers and driven around the town looking for Nacho. She said the Next Door app has been helpful in spreading the word. It seems like, she said, that almost everyone in town is looking for Nacho.
Colorado said the supposed person of interest has been described as a stocky white male with colorful tattoos. Colorado said her family had planned a trip to El Salvador and Colombia today but had to cancel to look for their dog. They are offering a $500 cash reward. Anyone with information is encouraged to email Maria at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Now a lot more people are getting involved,” she said. “The chief of police came down today.”