Same dog claimed by 2 families 4 states apart
Back in 2007, the Miller family in Texas lost their Maltese named Reese -- and amazingly, last weekend, they got a call saying he had been found.
KPRC reports: A man found Reese on a busy road, who took him to a vet, who found his microchip. He was almost 2,000 miles from home."
"Nervous and excited, just hope he accepts us," Dinah Miller said.
There's a bit of a twist that put a damper on what was supposed to be a happy reunion, though. While the Millers were overjoyed to have Reese back, another family in Washington was searching for him.
KHOU reports: "Every day we've gone out and printed flyers and walked around the neighborhood several times a day just calling his name," a member of the family from Washington said.
Years ago, the family from Washington adopted Reese from a shelter near Dallas and named him Harley, not knowing about his past. The family relocated to Washington and recently lost Reese, A.K.A. Harley, when their 2-year-old opened the front door. Seems Reese is kind of a runner.
Now, both families are wearing their hearts on their sleeves.
ABC reports: The family from Washington is heartbroken over the lost dog. "Harley has touched our lives more than you can explain," one family member said.
"My niece, it's really even harder to see her cry for him every single day," another member said.
"Seven years ago. Seven full years. And we never gave up hope. And we never stopped talking about him," Miller said about reuniting with Reese.
Apparently the shelter doesn't have records of whether Reese was ever checked for a microchip. The second family is asking for the dog back, but the Millers aren't budging. So, who gets the dog?
The Animal League explains every case is different but offers what might be a helpful example: "In exceptional situations (such as Hurricane Katrina) where animals were taken all over the country and their 'owners' were not able to track them down for a long time, courts have sometimes ordered the animals returned."
Although Animal Legal Defense Fund claims if you weren't the original caregiver, "don't give up." You can fight for custody rights by showing receipts for animal care and other documentation that proves you've been its primary owner.
Some outlets covering the story consulted legal experts, and they all said the Millers will likely gain legal rights to the pup.
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