EASLEY—An Easley resident is claiming that a city councilman currently maintains possession of her four-pound Chihuahua, and the two human parties will be headed to civil court to determine rightful ownership.
Kerri Blanton says her family, which includes five children, lost the dog back in May of this year while on vacation. Blanton says City Councilman Dave Watson gave the Chihuahua a home for a little over four months, but now realizing where her dog resides, Blanton has asked for “Lucy” back.
“If the tables were turned, I would still look in my kids’ eyes and do the right thing and return (Watson’s) dog to him,” said Blanton. “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.”
Blanton says there was an unsuccessful search in the days after losing the Chihuahua, and says her family had nearly given up until recently.
“In the classifieds of a newspaper, there was an advertisement for ‘Responsible Dog Ownership Day,’ and a picture of my dog ‘Lucy,’” said Blanton. “It was a little overwhelming. My older daughter told me a few weeks back that she had never stopped praying that we would find Lucy, and that she believed in her heart that we would find her someday.”
Blanton says she saw Watson with the dog on a City Council meeting story on a news media site promoting the upcoming Responsible Dog Ownership Day.
“I got to see more than just a little black and white picture this time,” says Blanton. “I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was our dog. She has very distinct marks, and I knew that if I ever saw her I would know that it was her.”
Blanton says efforts to retrieve the dog from Watson have been unsuccessful.
“They said they didn’t find Lucy, but Lucy found them on Mother’s day morning,” said Blanton. “(Tricia Watson) says she came out and the dog was sitting on their porch.”
Blanton says Tricia Watson told her that she owed them $533 for taking care of the dog. According to Watson, the $533 included vet bills, blankets, food, collars, leashes, and a Halloween costume.
Blanton says she does not believe that she would have gotten her dog back if she would have paid Watson the money.
“An animal is considered your personal property, so now I have to pay you for the return of my lost item?” said Blanton. “We went to the police department and filed a report. The officer called us back later and told us that Mr. Watson was not interested in the money, and that he wanted to keep the dog.”
Blanton says they acquired the dog in February of 2011.
“My sister had lost her husband at 40-years-old to a massive heart attack. My mom, at the end of January, had been diagnosed with stage four Cirrhosis of the Liver,” said Blanton. “My stepfather wanted to bring a little light to the kids because everything was so doom and gloom. Lucy filled a big void for us.”
Blanton says the entire situation has turned out to be more than she had imagined.
“This has blown into something that we would have never guessed over just a little four-pound dog that we love,” said Blanton.
Blanton filed a complaint with the magistrate’s court, asking that the matter be settled in civil court
A hearing is set for October, 23
Dave Watson says he hopes the right decision is made.
“What we need to do is ask for prayers that the right decision will be made by the judge,” said Watson. “Absolutely it should be in the hands of the magistrate. That’s what I told them from the start.”