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Former soldier charges in to rescue Roscoe the pit bull

Moved by the tale of a canceled adoption, he shows up at a Pasadena shelter bearing treats and toys to save the dog from being euthanized.

July 21, 2007|Bob Poole | Times Staff Writer

On what could have been the last day of his life, Roscoe the dog spent Friday afternoon sniffing flowers in the backyard and exploring the inside of Art Collins' home in Monrovia.

The abandoned, year-old dog -- scheduled to be euthanized Friday after his adoption from the Pasadena Humane Society had fallen through -- was saved by an ex-GI angered by the excuse given by a woman who decided not to take the red-nosed pit bull.

The woman had said she had to drop her plans to adopt the dog because a family member had been killed in combat in Iraq, causing upheaval in her life.

Military officials have disputed her claim. But for weeks the dog was kept in a special part of the animal shelter while employees waited for the woman to pick him up, making him ineligible for adoption.

Because the shelter is filled to capacity, Roscoe was going to be euthanized to make room for newcomers.

The Times reported on Roscoe's plight Friday.

"I read the story and how the reason for not adopting was a big lie," said Collins, 54, who served in the Army in the 1970s. "It just got to me. This dog was getting the shaft. I wanted to show that veterans aren't lying weasels."

More than six dozen readers called the shelter Friday, offering to ride to Roscoe's rescue, said Ricky Whitman of the Pasadena Humane Society. "People were willing to come up from as far away as San Diego. Others called to donate," he said.

"Mr. Collins showed up with his daughter, who owns a pit bull, and with leashes, a collar, a giant bag of food, toys and treats. He was outraged that somebody would use that excuse. He was serious about the dog."

Collins played with Roscoe in a special play yard before leaving the South Raymond Avenue shelter. "Roscoe walked out of here very happily at his side," Whitman said.

"Right now Roscoe's giving the house the old sniff test," Collins said later by phone. "He's a good dog."

The new dog owner had to cut the conversation short, however. Roscoe was trying to check out the top of the kitchen counter in his new home.

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bob.pool@latimes.com

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