SIOUX CITY | A wayward basset hound has confounded residents of a west Sioux City neighborhood for more than a year, sneaking into yards and stealing pet food while skillfully evading capture.

Residents and animal-rescue officials are determined to capture the canine, who roams a neighborhood west of Hamilton Boulevard near Briar Cliff University, before he falls prey to foul weather or illness.

There's one problem: The dog is deceptively fast, extremely smart and has an uncanny ability to vanish into thin air, said Deanna Jarvis, of Noah's Hope Animal Rescue.

"No matter how many people we get out looking for him, he'll disappear," she said.

Sioux City Animal Control officers have been called out to catch him more than 15 times over the past several months, said official Cindy Rarrat. They haven't even gotten close enough to shoot him with a tranquilizer or net gun.

"Once it sees us or our truck, it is gone," Rarrat said.

Officials say the dog, named Bosley, is difficult to catch because he isn't socialized. Bosley came from a breeder in Texas and went on the run after escaping from a local dog rescue in December 2011, Jarvis said. She would not release the name of the rescue group.

"He is scared to death of humans," she said.

Neighborhood resident Jessica Jensen tried to catch the dog several times. He sneaks inside her fenced-in yard frequently to play with her dogs but escapes by jumping through a lattice fence underneath her deck.

Jensen said the dog has come to expect the food she leaves out for him. If he finds the bowl empty, he barks at the door, she says.

"He's an extremely smart dog," Jensen said.

Jarvis, of Noah's Hope, said Bosley needs to be caught. She fears he could succumb to the weather or spread disease and parasites to neighborhood dogs. He appears to have survived so far by hunting rabbits and eating food left by Jensen and others, Jarvis said, but is thin and recently injured his hip.

Not that the injury has made him any easier to catch.

"He can still run very fast on three legs," Jensen said.