Judge dismisses Chihuahua custody case - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Judge dismisses Chihuahua custody case

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The Watsons (left) and the Blantons (right) appear in court for a bench trial. (Feb. 28, 2013/FOX Carolina) The Watsons (left) and the Blantons (right) appear in court for a bench trial. (Feb. 28, 2013/FOX Carolina)
LIBERTY, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The custody battle over a beloved Chihuahua made its way to an Upstate courtroom Thursday morning.

A magistrate court judge in Liberty presided over the bench trial in the case between two Easley families, the Blantons and the Watsons, and eventually dismissed the case.

The Blantons said they lost their beloved Lucy when she got out of a friend's yard while they were on vacation in May. Easley County Councilman Dave Watson and his wife Trisha said they found Lucy on their front porch, rescued her and named her Gracie after trying to find her owner.

Last summer, the Blantons discovered Lucy had been found, the two families have disputed whom she belonged to. They later filed a complaint in magistrate's court and were ready to take the matter to a judge, with the hearing postponed several times since then.

With a bench trial, the judge will determine the outcome of the case rather than a jury. FOX Carolina crews were in the courtroom when the judge determined that the original complaint filed by the Blantons was incorrect, gave their attorney time in court to amend the paperwork, but he did not and the judge threw out the case.

The Blantons can re-file and they told FOX Carolina as they left the courtroom in tears they are going to go home, regroup and see what they need and want to do as a family with their four children.

"That's probably the bigger issue," Keith Blanton said after the case was dismissed. "It's just tough with the kids, but they'll just have to adapt and sit down as a family to decide what we're going to do."

The Watsons' attorney said they see it as a victory.

"It's definitely a win for us and the judge is right, by law the Watsons did everything they were supposed to," Ryan Beasley, the Watsons' attorney said. "They found a dog on their porch, took care of it, took it to the vet, put signs around the neighborhood."

The Watsons will keep Gracie, who they have had since last May.

Copyright 2013 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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