Judge awards dog to 1st owner

The Associated Press
Published Oct 5, 2012 at 05:00AM / Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 12:31AM

CORVALLIS — A judge has given a Portland man custody of a dog lost in early 2011 and then claimed by an Oregon State University student, leading to a highly publicized custody dispute.

The dog has been at a Humane Society shelter, but Benton County Judge Locke Williams said Thursday that Sam Hanson-Fleming had a valid claim to the mixed breed, husky-Siberian he calls Chase.

That followed testimony from Benton County investigator John Chilcote about Hanson-Fleming’s visit to the shelter in August, The Oregonian newspaper reported.

He called out “Chase, Chase, Chase!” and the dog pulled so hard on the leash the handler stumbled several times, Chilcote testified.

“There was recognition, happiness, excitement, hopping, yipping, yelping maybe,” he said.

Hanson Fleming lost the 45-pound dog in the spring of 2011 when it leaped a fence. Jordan Biggs found him and took him to Corvallis when she couldn’t find the owner. She named him Bear and trained him as a service animal for asthma attacks.

Jordan Biggs with “Bear” in May. A judge awarded custody of the dog to its original owner Thursday.