Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 4:48 p.m.
It was a landlord's worst nightmare. The tenants who never paid the rent or the light bill on time were finally evicted from Maria Rosa's house on Branch Street in Hollywood, but they left behind an unsolicited gift: two pit bulls.
Both dogs were "muy peligrosos" -- very dangerous, says the 68-year-old Rosa, and they were roaming outside on the afternoon of July 25. So she called Broward County Animal Care. And then things got weird.
The female dog jumped through a window, Thelma & Louise-style, and took off running
down the street. An unnamed neighbor called Hollywood police, telling the 911 operator that an Animal Care officer was being attacked by pit bulls. "He's hitting them with a stick because they're so vicious," she said breathlessly.
Cops rushed to the scene and found themselves overwhelmed. The dogs charged at their car and began to chase them, one police officer wrote in an incident report. Rosa says she saw the cops climb on top of their car, they were so frightened.
"It looked like a movie," Rosa says.
An Animal Care officer finally corralled the male dog, but rebel Thelma kept tearing around the neighborhood. Growing desperate and noting a gathering crowd of potential victims, one cop turned his Taser -- a stun gun -- on the female dog. Subdued, both dogs were taken into custody, more than an hour after the initial 911 call.
The high-profile chase scene prompted a flurry of inquiries from the media. But Lisa Mendheim, public education officer for Animal Care, tried to downplay the incident. She said none of her agency's officers were attacked, and no one was injured.
Both dogs survived, and the male was eventually claimed by his owners. Lady Thelma, however, was never claimed. Because she was so aggressive, Mendheim says, she was put to sleep.