Chihuahua case continues

By Nicole Daughhetee
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — It seems as though neither the Blanton nor the Watson families will have their day in court anytime soon in the battle over custody of a chihuahua that has made headlines.

Local magistrate judge Michael Baker granted a change of venue motion in the case, as he and other area magistrates knew too much about the case because of all the publicity it has drawn.

The case was moved to the magistrate’s office in Liberty, where a magistrate from outside Pickens County would be brought in to hear the case.

Scheduled to be heard on Nov. 15, the case to decide ownership of the chihuahua known by the Blanton family as Lucy and the Watson family as Gracie was postponed yet again, with both parties’ attorneys asking for a continuance.
What on the surface seems like an easily solved dispute over the rightful ownership of little Lucy/Gracie has turned into an ongoing comedy of errors, with postponement after postponement being played out in Pickens County.
It remains undisputed that the Blanton family were the original owners of Lucy, their chihuahua who went missing in May of this year and was found by Easley City Councilman Dave Watson and his wife Trish.

The Blantons maintain that they never ceased searching for Lucy, combing neighborhoods immediately after her disappearance and circulating flyers and advertisements on every month that followed.

The Watsons say that Gracie found them and have publically acknowledged the Blantons’ ownership of the pup, but allege that the family’s mistreatment of Gracie is the reason they are going through all the trouble to fight for her in court.

Keri Blanton does not dispute that Lucy was injured in a fall after trying to jump up on her lap, but says Lucy’s injury was completely accidental and that she acted as a responsible pet owner by taking her to the vet, where Lucy was examined and kept overnight for observation.

Financially and emotionally, the battle for Lucy is taking its toll on the Blanton family, but they refuse to give up their fight because, says Blanton, “this is exactly what the Watsons want us to do.”

“This has cost my family well over $1,000 in legal expenses,” she said. “It has been a nightmare, and my kids have had to watch this entire thing, All my kids want is to have Lucy back at home where she belongs. We are doing this for them and Lucy.”

Blanton said she doesn’t understand why the case has been allowed to drag on, especially since the Watsons have said publically, on more than one occasion, that Lucy originally belonged to her family.

“Dave Watson has even offered again to buy Lucy, but I told him she is not for sale,” said Blanton. “If they are so concerned that we mistreated Lucy, why give us money to buy another dog to mistreat? It doesn’t make any sense.”

On their “Bring Lucy Home” Facebook page, Blanton and her family continue to receive an outpouring of public support. Sentiments expressing the opinion that the Watsons should return Lucy have been echoed by Easley mayor Larry Bagwell and Easley council members that serve alongside Watson.

The Watsons maintain possession of the dog until her fate is decided. The Blantons are anxious for their day in court and are hopeful that the situation will end on a positive note.

Calls to the Watsons and their attorney were not returned as of press time.