Stray Dog Rescued at Agua Caliente County Park

Bruno was captured at Agua Caliente County Park

A dog roaming in the desert for about a month is finally safe thanks to two County departments, rescue volunteers and a large catch pen.

Staff at Agua Caliente County Park heard a stray was out in the desert but didn’t find him in the park until three weeks ago. He was friendly, even with other animals, but wouldn’t let anyone catch him.

“We were concerned he would starve or get hit by a car,” said County Parks Ranger Allison Lee.

County Parks called County Animal Services March 18 to rescue the animal but the dog wouldn’t fall for its trap. Animal Services called in a rescue volunteer who specializes in capturing animals.

Barbara Fry and two of her volunteers jumped on the case. They decided to create a massive pen. Meantime, visitors left food out for the dog and he could drink from water at the natural springs.

A couple days later, Fry’s team recruited a friendly dog, took food inside the pen and lured the stray into a crate.

The dog, nicknamed Bruno, is now at the County animal shelter in Carlsbad where he was treated for cactus injuries to his nose, mouth and paws. Otherwise, Lt. Lisa Worrick says the dog is in fine shape.

Bruno appears to be a 1-½-year-old shar-pei/Anatolian shepherd blend who weighs in a healthy 70 pounds. He doesn’t like a leash, but he’ll let you pet him. Worrick sat down with him in his kennel Thursday morning.

“He laid his head right on my lap,” said Worrick. “He’s scared, and he trembled a little bit, but he likes other dogs and kids, and hasn’t shown any aggression at all.”

The dog didn’t have a microchip. He’s in the midst of a three-day hold to see if an owner claims him. If not, Fry has a finder’s hold on the dog. She’ll adopt him and train him to get used to a leash.

Worrick recommends that anyone who finds a lost dog should call County Animal Services or their local animal shelter. She says dog owners should also microchip their pets. County Animal Services offers low-cost microchipping to residents in the unincorporated areas during regular business hours.

Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact