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Chihuahua With Chutzpah: Dog Leads Police On Chase Across San Francisco Bridge

For a brief span Sunday, the "C" in CHP stood for Chihuahua. That's because a black dog led what police describe as a high-speed pursuit over the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland, before being placed in official custody.

The dog's only identifying tag — black, with a silver human skull — served to cement his status as a hardcore animal who's not wowed by authority. His flight from the law was captured on a dashboard camera and posted to social media in what quickly became a well-liked video.

It took at least three units — two officers on motorcycles and one in a car — to corral the animal, which had been streaking its way toward San Francisco.

Police issued a call for help in finding the dog's owner, asking on Facebook, "Missing a Chihuahua?"

At one point in the chase, the dog appeared to toy with his pursuers, stopping to face an officer on a motorcycle — who then starts to dismount from his machine — before tearing off again.

The Associated Press adds, "After it was captured, the Chihuahua was taken to a San Francisco animal shelter where staff members named it Ponch, after the CHP Officer Frank Poncherello played by Erik Estrada in the TV series CHiPs."

On Monday, officials at San Francisco Animal Care and Control sent an update on Ponch, saying he's doing well "but he would love to see his family."

Actor Erik Estrada retweeted that message, much like he did after seeing an earlier tweet about the Chihuahua's escapade.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.