Happy ending for Roscoe’s war story?

Times Staff Writer

Behind the narrow bars of his Pasadena cage, a dog named Roscoe has no idea that he may die today as a most unlikely victim of the war in Iraq.

The friendly, year-old red-nosed pit bull has been in the Pasadena Humane Society’s shelter on Raymond Avenue since June 2, when his owner turned him in along with another dog. The man explained that he had no time to train either animal.

The other dog quickly found a new home. And then 55-pound Roscoe seemed to have freedom in sight June 27, when a Pasadena family signed up to take him. Shelter operators removed Roscoe from the pool of dogs available for placement and moved him to a section of their kennel reserved for animals being neutered or spayed and prepped for placement in new homes.

But on July 10, Roscoe’s new family canceled his adoption. A family member told shelter administrators that the household had been upended by the combat death of a relative serving in Iraq. Dealing with the aftermath would preclude them from taking the dog, Humane Society officials were told.


With his tail wagging and his tongue licking everyone in sight, Roscoe was returned to the shelter’s general canine population.

But no would-be owner stepped forward this time. And with space at a premium at the 100-dog shelter, Roscoe was scheduled to be euthanized today if no one takes him.

“The sad thing is Roscoe was moved ... and missed out on two weeks when someone else could have seen him and adopted him,” said Jennifer Warner, a shelter administrator who dealt with Roscoe’s short-lived adoption.

Sadder still was the news Thursday that the family’s reason for backing out of Roscoe’s adoption couldn’t be verified.

Earlier, a family member told The Times that the death in Iraq occurred June 27, the same day the family volunteered to adopt Roscoe. The victim, a woman deployed from Camp Pendleton, was killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up next to her on a street as she was inspecting a neighborhood to determine whether it was safe for its residents to return, the family member said.

But military officials said no one by the name provided by the family had been killed in Iraq. And no female troops died during the time frame cited by the family, according to the Department of Defense.

Family members could not be reached Thursday for comment.

However, shelter operators said animals scheduled to be put down get a seven-day reprieve if they are the subject of news coverage. The execution delay is called a “media hold” and is designed to allow the public to react to the news story and adopt the animal.


So, Roscoe, this story’s for you.