Chihuahua court case dropped

By Nicole Daughhetee

Courier Staff

LIBERTY — The lengthy battle between an Easley city councilman and his wife and an Easley family over custody of a chihuahua came to an end last Thursday in magistrate court.

Easley councilman Dave Watson and his wife, Trisha, were awarded possession of the dog when Liberty magistrate court judge Tommy Wall dismissed the case over the filing of incorrect paperwork.

The Blanton family, the original owners of the dog, had filed a claim and delivery case against the Watsons, but after numerous court dates that were either cancelled or postponed, the judge decided that the action was the incorrect one to take in this particular scenario.

The chihuahua, originally named “Lucy,” went missing in May 2012 while the Blantons were on vacation and the dog was being cared for by a family friend.

The Watsons said the dog, which they call “Gracie,” found them, and they took her in. Both parties claim they made every possible effort to respectively locate the dog and the dog’s owner to no avail.

As part of a campaign for Responsible Pet Ownership Day, Watson brought the dog to an Easley City Council meeting, and when the Blantons saw her on the news, they knew immediately that “Gracie” was, in fact, “Lucy.”

The Watsons publicly admitted on numerous occasions that the dog in question belonged to the Blanton family, but also alleged that the chihuahua had been abused in their care and wanted financial compensation — upwards of $5,000 — for the pooch’s return.

Kerri Blanton never disputed that the dog was injured, but the family says she was hurt during an accidental fall and was immediately taken to the veterinarian for treatment and was kept overnight for observation.

Easley mayor Larry Bagwell, Easley city council members and many local residents pleaded with Watson to give the dog back to the family, saying that all of the media exposure was an embarrassment to the city, but the Watsons maintained that they were simply looking out for the dog’s best interests.

As it stands, the Watsons will maintain possession of the dog, and the Blanton family will have to decide if they would like to take further legal action.