Dog owner reunited with Husky dog that disappeared in 2013
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) -- A dog custody battle in Steamboat Springs has reunited a Canon City man with his Siberian Husky for the first time since 2013.
The Problem Solvers were at the Ethos Law Firm Friday morning when attorneys for Ashlee Anderson handed the dog over to Michael Gehrke and his attorneys.
"All I said from the beginning is I just want Mya to come home," said Gehrke before adding, "This could've been way easier."
Man reunited with dog that disappeared in 2013
The dog, who Gehrke calls Mya, immediately ran up to Gehrke and licked him as if she recognized him.
Ashlee Anderson was given the dog in 2013 by a friend who claimed to have found it as a runaway in Canon City.
She brought the husky to her home in Steamboat Springs - 200 miles north of Canon City - and renamed it Sitka.
But in February of 2017, the Husky got loose again and this time it was found by Steamboat Springs Animal Control.
An Animal Control Officer scanned the dog's microchip and learned it belonged to Gehrke in Canon City.
He immediately launched a legal battle to get his dog back. In June 2017, a Routt County Judge declared the dog belonged with Gehrhke but allowed Anderson to keep the dog after she filed an appeal.
The judge was scheduled to hear the case Friday but Anderson's team filed a continuance based on her attorney's medical issues.
The judge stipulated he would only allow for another delay if the dog was immediately returned to Gehrke.
"This is the third time they've tried to delay the case. They were supposed to meet us at court. They drag us out in a snowstorm to come to their law office. It's been one jerk around after another," complained Gehrke.
After $15,000 in attorney fees, Gehrke has his dog back but Anderson's legal team says they're not giving up the fight.
Her attorney Emily Kelley told FOX31, "This case is far from over. We look at this as a 12-round boxing match. This is only round 2."
Gerhke's attorney Jennifer Edwards says the multiple legal delays filed by Anderson's attorneys were frivalous. "It was just playing games it felt like to me," said Edwards, the founder of the Animal Law Clinic in Denver.
Edwards has promised to seek sanctions against Anderson's attorney for filing multiple continuances.
She says it should've never taken 13 months for her client to get his dog back, once he learned it was living in Steamboat Springs.