I’ve been following this strange case in South Carolina involving a four-pound two-year-old Chihuahua named Lucy (and Gracie) for months with no end in sight.
This case has implications for everyone who has ever lost their dog (and that is practically everyone who has ever had a dog.)
The Blanton family, mother, father and five children, lost Lucy when they went away for a Mother’s Day weekend in May, leaving Lucy with a dog sitter. Maybe figuring that they had forgotten her, Lucy escaped from the fenced yard and turned up on the porch of city councilman Dave Watson and his wife.
The Blantons did everything they were supposed to do to locate a beloved dog, but she did not turn up. Then five months later they saw her picture in the paper in an advertisement for “Responsible Dog Ownership Day.”
They learned that the Watsons had their dog, but they now considered her to be their dog. The Watsons claimed to have spent $533 to take care of her, which included vet bills, food, collars, leashes and (I am not making this up) a Halloween costume.
They didn’t want the money. They wanted the dog.
After finding that the police were no help, the Blantons filed a civil suit and the November hearing was continued at the request of the lawyers for both parties. (Lawyers make a lot of money any time they appear in court with their clients even if there is no ruling. I mention this for no particular reason, of course.)
There have been some questions about where to hold the hearings. No future hearing date has been announced as the Blantons enter the eighth month of having their lost dog in the home of another family.
Watson doesn’t deny that the dog he calls Gracie was once the Blanton’s dog, but he claims the law is on his side. According to the local TV station:
He says he tried to find the owner, but it had no tags. After taking the dog to the vet for shots and caring for the pet, he says, by law, it is his.
"As we understand it by state law it becomes a stray after three days,” said Watson.
We checked the law. In South Carolina, strays can become yours after the three days. But first you must take it to the nearest Magistrate. Also there must be a 10 day public notice before a pet becomes yours. Watson says he gave proper notice, and after five months of care he's keeping the dog. Source: Channel 7 WSPA
The Blantons are having a hard time accepting his position.
"My kids are the type of kids that, if they see a stray on the side of the road, they think we are supposed to rescue it, so it’s been very difficult," Mrs. Blanton said.
I know where I think Lucy should live, but sometimes the law is indeed an ass.
However this turns out, we can be sure of two things: Lucy/Gracie will have a loving home and two lawyers will make a lot of money.