An elusive “Ghost Dog” that has come to be known as Franklin has been on the run through some Australian towns for the past three years, much to the delight of many local residents while also sparking debate in the Aussie communities where he resides.
While Franklin the Ghost Dog has been freely roaming the Australian town of Gungahlin, making fans throughout the area and even getting his own Franklin the Ghost Dog Facebook page, his status as a stray dog also has some local folks and authorities rankled.
This has made Franklin not only a wanted canine, but has also given him more and more of a legendary status combined with a folklore kind of vibe, reports the Canberra Times. His “Ghost Dog” moniker caught on because of Franklin’s “snowy-white coat,” but his ability to seemingly appear out of thin air and elude capture by those that want him off the streets cemented Franklin with his Ghost Dog name.
Franklin the ghost dog is a Maremma Sheepdog, an Italian breed some call the “ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing.” While Franklin’s Maremma dog traits apparently include his ability to avoid capture, some locals will continue to pursue him in an effort to get him to take up permanent residence in a human home.
Among those local residents that would like to see Franklin the Ghost Dog captured, and put up with a human family, is a woman that preferred not to be named. She feels there should be more effort by Australian animal authorities in the area to catch Franklin not because he’s mean or rude to people, but because the dog gets himself in precarious situations that can put his life in danger,
“I personally feel very sorry for this dog. He has very little road sense, and I’ve seen him nearly get run over multiple times. In addition I know of at least one time he was fed cooked chicken with bones which is very dangerous for dogs as cooked bones can splinter in their stomachs.”
But Franklin the Ghost Dog doesn’t seem to want to listen as he continues to remain on the run, enjoying his freedom while also enjoying plenty of nutrition in the form of steaks and other doggie delights provided by Franklin fans in the area.
Fans of Franklin and his ghost dog antics say he would never hurt anybody and that he generally prefers a solitary lifestyle. To demonstrate this, Franklin barks at people on occasion if they get too close to him.
As far as trying to catch him, there’s a debate among local animal authorities about who exactly is responsible for the so far impossible task.
An RSPCA spokesman says Franklin, as a stray dog, is the responsibility of an agency called Territory and Municipal Services. Regardless who’s responsible, according to the spokesman, there hasn’t been any complaints about Franklin’s welfare, so they’d leave him alone for now.
“Until his welfare is compromised, there’s nothing we can do,” said the spokesman.
Fleur Flanery concurred, the representative from local Domestic Animal Services saying her agency was familiar with Franklin, but they’ve received no calls for assistance with the Ghost Dog, and that he is actually believed to be owned by someone.
Mark Scarborough, who oversees Franklin the Ghost dog’s Facebook page, believes that that owner is a family in a nearby town who adopted Franklin from the pound, naming him Samson at the time. That relationship lasted about a day as Franklin put his ghost dog powers to work and headed for the freedom of the open road.
Scarborough thinks Franklin was initially captured in another nearby town but busted out again and has been a rolling stone ever since.
On the website My Gungahlin, Scarborough has written regularly about Franklin the Ghost Dog over the past three years.
According to Scarborough, he started Franklin’s Facebook page so people would be familiar with the Ghost Dog should they see him, not to make Franklin a “celebrity.”
As for whether or not he hopes Franklin is caught at some point, Scarborough is torn, fearing that if he is ever caught, rangers may classify him as “unable to be re-homed.”
“I can see both sides of the argument. People say he needs a home, but does he? Does he need cuddles and pats and to sleep on a bed every night? Are we romanticising that? I am worried about him from a healthcare point of view. People say he should be wormed but if one person does it, we can’t be sure others haven’t already done it and he will get too much medication… From what I’ve seen of him, he does look happy.”
Do you think Franklin the Australian “Ghost Dog” should be captured and taken off the streets, or allowed to enjoy his current freedom?
[Images via Facebook]