Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Growl of an engine


Truck owner lifts hood, gets scare of his life
By Kimberly K. Fu
Article Launched: 05/07/2008 05:56:41 AM PDT


Walter Witthoeft of Vacaville, popped his truck's hood, Tuesday to find a pitbull lodged in the engine compartment. (Special to The Reporter/Walter Witthoeft) When a Vacaville man's truck engine failed to purr as usual Tuesday morning, he popped the hood to administer a routine dose of chemical healing.
And got the scare of his life when he saw the glowing eyes and fierce growl of a female pit bull nestled near the engine block.

"Once I had a cat jump out at me," said Walter Witthoeft, in regard to critters being found reclining under the hood of his Ford F-150. "I wasn't ready for this this morning. ... My daughter works for the SPCA and I didn't know what to do. So I called her and left her a voice message. She called back and I said (to her), 'you're not gonna believe this.' "

Witthoeft made the discovery around 7 a.m. as he walked to his truck, which was parked near his home at the Alamo Garden Apartments. He encountered a male pit bull circling the vehicle and continued on, shortly deciding the truck needed a little power steering fluid.

So he popped the hood, and suddenly thought he was meeting his Maker.

"I seen eyes and it was growling at me," he recalled.

The dog nestled in the engine compartment wore no identification tag and seemed a bit put out regarding the situation, Witthoeft said. He could only surmise that the male pit bull and the one under the hood



were together, possibly brother and sister, and were playing.
"When the female got stuck, the male jumped on my hood," he said.

Paw prints on his hood backed up his theory.

A probe later revealed that the imbedded dog had come up from under the driver's side and got stuck.

"It got scared and started chewing," Witthoeft said. "I was really angry."

The emotion was understandable, as Witthoeft had just gotten his truck back from his mechanic, who had replaced the starter. Then the truck had an unfortunate meeting with the dog, who chewed not only through the fuel line, but also some electrical wiring. The truck is now back at the shop, and Witthoeft is wondering how slim his wallet will become.

Vacaville Police Sgt. Rick Elm described the event as unique, the first he's experienced after 20 years on the force.

"I thought I'd seen it all. I rolled on this call and, sure thing, I hadn't," he said.

Elm said officers tried offering the dog water, but it wouldn't drink. Further contact was considered risky. Eventually, though, it crawled out from the engine to freedom.

"Once it got up on the hood, we could see it was more docile," Elm said. A rope leash was placed around the dog's neck and Humane Animal Services led the dog away.

The dog appeared healthy, Elm said, and remains in the custody of Humane Animal Services.

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