Lawsuits pending after lost dog dispute in Franklin County

By Tim Johnston | 

Meet the dog with two names. One owner calls the small pup "Chico," the other "Jackson." Regardless the dog's name, the canine is at the center of two pending lawsuits in Franklin County.

"I sued for a thousand dollars," said Wendy Linale, who found the dog, "she [filed] a counter claim for the maximum of $2,500."

Linale says the dog wandered up to her house, back in September.

"He came to the house attached to a ten-foot chain. We brought him in, we fed him, we kept him," recalled Linale, who figured the dog got away from someone so she did her best to find the owner.

"We put a video on facebook, we put signs out in the neighborhood and at the gas station," said Linale, adding that they even went to the Franklin County Humane Society to fill out a Lost-and-Found report.

"They did everything that I thought they need to do, legally to be able to keep it," admitted Angie Stewart of the Humane Society.

On the advice from the Humane Society, Linale was told the dog could be hers if the owner doesn't claim the animal in five days. The time passed, and no one came forward, so Linale and her daughters welcomed the four-legged friend.

"He was just the cutest thing ever, you couldn't refuse him," said Linale.

Linale even paid for several medical treatments for the dog she started calling "Jackson."

"He had am umbilical hernia, so we had that taken care of, and we had him neutered."

What the family and the Humane Society didn't know, and would later be explained to them, is that Kentucky State Law says if a person can prove ownership, the animal must be returned immediately regardless of how long the animal has been lost. The only exception, if a stray animal is impounded in a shelter for five days then it becomes property of the shelter and can be adopted at that point. In this case, it didn't happen that way.

"It doesn't matter the money, the time, the love, nothing. They're entitled to their dog back," said Linale, who learned the rule from the Franklin County Attorney.

Adding, "the law in Kentucky is not fair."

As it turned out, that law would come into play. The dog got away from Linale's house a few weeks ago, and it was spotted by the original owner at a trailer park less than a tenth of a mile from Linale's home.

Linale, after learning of the law, returned the dog to the Humane Society, and the original owner came and picked up the pup. The original owner could not be reached for comment, this evening.

"It broke their hearts," described Stewart, who helped the family adopt another dog, at no cost, to help ease the pain of losing their newfound family member.

According to Linale, the other owner is suing her because the dog was neutered while in Linale's care.

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