BURNSIDE - A dog that was "playing chicken" along Route 125 here for the past three weeks was lured into a live trap in pursuit of food, and is now safe at Mostly Mutts no-kill animal shelter.

Volunteer Ronda Balonis said she and shelter owner Cheryl Hill picked up the dog, believed to be a shepherd mix and about 2 to 3 years old, Thursday morning after

receiving a call from a neighbor that the dog had taken her bait - leftover roast beef - in the trap sometime overnight.

Balonis, of Shamokin, said her first knowledge of the dog came from a co-worker whose girlfriend had seen a dog she believed had been hit lying on the highway. Balonis, who was in Bloomsburg at the time, sent other volunteers out, but there was no dog to be found.

"Then the calls starting coming," she said, "one after another about this dog in Burnside."

What she heard made her think the dog was on a suicide mission, she said. She was "playing chicken on the yellow line."

Ronda said neighbors and truck drivers were feeding the dog, which she described as average size and which may have some husky breed in it. She said it appears healthy.

While she has spent time flirting with disaster, the dog does seem friendly, Balonis said. She said it was understandably "skittish" when she and Hill first got to it in the trap Thursday, but she came around pretty quickly. In fact, she jumped right into the cab of Hill's pickup truck for a ride to the shelter, located in the countryside southeast of Sunbury.

Balonis wanted to thank the Seroski family for allowing Mostly Mutts to put the trap on their property.

For Balonis, who shares volunteer duties for Mostly Mutts in the Shamokin area with fellow city resident Debra Nye, Thursday was typical of the highs and lows of the job. After success in the morning, she was headed out in the afternoon to pick up a pit bull that was struck and killed by a vehicle in the area of Reinhart's FoodService in Coal Township.

Mount Carmel police were going to assist with their "chip" reader to see if an owner could be identified, Balonis said.