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Chaos at YYZ: Rescue dog escapes, eludes capture for 12 hours, forces pilot to abort landing


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Chaos at Pearson Airport: Rescue dog escapes, eludes capture for 12 hours, forces pilot to abort landing

'It just looked like a white blur running down the taxiway'

Thu Oct 08, 2020 - The National Post
by Devika Desai

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A rescue dog at Toronto Pearson Airport forced multiple flights to delay take-off and led her foster handlers and airport staff members on a 12 hour chase after she broke free of her cage.

Crystal, a white Spanish podenco, had landed in Toronto at 8 p.m. on Sept. 28, having completed a more than 10-hour flight from Spain, via a British Airways plane. 

However, her crate door was allegedly not securely fastened and once the cargo doors opened, the skinny little puppy made a dash for it on the tarmac. 

Rhonda Martins, who had arranged Crystal’s adoption by a family in Canada, said airport staff allowed her security clearance to search for Crystal on the tarmac

“I ended up getting security clearance to go out on the tarmac and one of the guys drove me around for hours and it actually started to rain,” Martins told the CBC. “It rained so bad. We had hoped that she’d get cover, but she just kept running the whole time.”

Finally, Martins had to return to her hotel with three other podencos in tow but the staff members assured her they’d keep looking.

And boy, did they pull out all the stops. 

Over the next 12 hours, a highly coordinated search ensued, replete with CCTV security, thermal infrared cameras and a call for help to the Falcon Environment Services, the airport wildlife team. All arrivals and departures were suspended for at least an hour on Tuesday morning as staff searched high and low for Crystal. 

Falconer Keith Everett said he drove his truck up and down the runway for hours, in the hopes of tracking and luring the dog to safety. “Boy, could she run” he told CBC, as his attempts repeatedly failed. 

Chris Stubbs, an aviation safety officer with the airport, told CBC that while the control tower diverted at least one aircraft away from the affected runway, security tracked Crystal using security and thermal cameras by early morning.

Finding her wasn’t the issue, Chris Stubbs said — the hardest part was being able to catch her. “There were times where it just looked like a white blur running down the taxiway,” Stubbs said

Podencos are close relatives of the greyhound, native to Spain, and were popularly adopted as hunting dogs, which explains their speed and agility. 

At two points, Crystal appeared on the runway as aircraft were landing, forcing pilots to quickly abort.

“Make no mistake, this was a very serious situation,” Beverly Farmer, co-founder of Podenco Friends wrote in a Facebook post. “Luckily the pilots did see her and they had to abort the landing and overshoot. This could have ended so badly.”

By the 12th hour, Crystal had worn herself out and crawled under a truck to rest, giving Everett the rare opportunity to crawl close and slip a leash over her head. Rather than rush her out, he stayed under the truck with the scared, exhausted pup and tried to gain her trust by talking and giving her treats. 

It was a “terrible 12 hours waiting to hear,” Farmer wrote on Facebook, but when the “call came through (that) she is caught, the sense of relief was overwhelming.”

Crystal is now safe with her new family in New Brunswick, although, Farmer wrote that she managed to “rip the skin off one of her pads but that will soon heal.”

And what does Crystal think of the ordeal she caused? 

“Typical Podenco, like what is all the fuss about and someone get me a cheeseburger,” Farmer concluded.

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23 minutes ago, conehead said:

Nice feel good story, but why do people feel the need to “rescue” dogs from foreign countries? There’s plenty of dogs that need a home locally.

Maybe the dog only understands Spanish......maybe the adopting family speaks Spanish.

I have noticed that many dogs  owned by Francophones  do not say "bow-wow", they say woofe'- woofe' .

Gotta watch the language issue all over the world..

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2 hours ago, Kip Powick said:

Maybe the dog only understands Spanish......maybe the adopting family speaks Spanish.

I have noticed that many dogs  owned by Francophones  do not say "bow-wow", they say woofe'- woofe' .

Gotta watch the language issue all over the world..

I've noticed that myself. When I was 10 years old and delivering the morning newspapers, I was attacked by 2 German Sheppards that were "protecting" their house. The dogs had me pinned to the ground, and wouldn't release me until the owner came out and yelled something at them in German...

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Interesting study about the significant increase in the deaths of crows ( ravens) since Covid. It is attributed to the increase in trucking ( essential business) and a corresponding decrease in automobile traffic.

As many know, crows deploy a lookout when the "murder" finds a tasty bit of roadkill.

Apparently, the lookouts are able to give warning by saying "Caw! Caw!"  but they can't say; " Truck! Truck!"

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11 hours ago, vanishing point said:

We hear the language.  Dogs just hear noise they’re trained to react to....

 

Booo!  There's at least another dozen jokes that could be written in this thread and you've spoiled the fun.

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On 10/8/2020 at 7:23 PM, UpperDeck said:

Interesting study about the significant increase in the deaths of crows ( ravens) since Covid. It is attributed to the increase in trucking ( essential business) and a corresponding decrease in automobile traffic.

...Covid bad news for Corvids.  News at 11.

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