Tulsa firefighters find missing arson dog

Monday, August 11th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

During the News on 6 noon show Monday, we told you about Iris. The Tulsa Fire Department's recently retired arson dog disappeared Saturday. Investigators spent two days looking for the black Labrador retriever. And News on 6 reporter Patrina Adger says thanks to a News on 6 viewer Iris is back in her pen this evening with her buddy AJ.

Fire Investigators picked her up just a few blocks from here. But this isn't the first time the black lab has escaped. “One of the guys calls her Houdini." According to Iris’ handler, Bruce Latimer, the retired arson dog has disappeared before. "That's why we put her in the inside kennel, so she couldn't get out." But like Houdini, she somehow did.

Latimer says the black lab disappeared Saturday. He fed her that morning. But when he came back to check on her that evening, she was gone. "This was open like that and they can go through to get out."

For eight years, Iris sniffed out suspicious fires for the city's Fire department before retiring in February. She remained at the pen to keep the new arson dog company. But AJ isn't saying anything about his predecessor's whereabouts. Latimer says Iris has escaped several times. She makes her getaway by digging holes along the fence. And every time he covers one up, Iris digs another one.

Shortly after our noon newscast Monday, a News on 6 viewer says she looked out her window and saw Iris walking west on Archer. That's when she called Fire investigators. After two days on the run, Iris was brought back to her pen, safe and sound. AJ's happy to have her back and so is Latimer. "She's back, we'll do a better job keeping her on lockdown.” We hope so because "Houdini" is already looking for ways to escape again. "She'll get out if she wants to get out if she's not watched."

Bruce Latimer says he's going to keep Iris inside that inner pen more often and patch up the holes in the ground to hopefully prevent her from leaving again.