Animal Law

Student, 20, Charged with Theft, Original Owner Faces Abuse Probe In High-Profile Dog-Custody Case


A hotly contested legal battle over the ownership of a mixed-breed dog in Oregon has heated up further, and it now appears possible that neither one of the individuals who want to keep the German shepherd-husky may be allowed to do so.

Jordan Biggs, a 20-year-old Oregon State University student who says she found the dog in Portland, was arrested and briefly jailed in Corvallis on Friday, on a theft charge, the Associated Press reports.

But the dog she calls Bear hasn’t been returned to Sam Hanson-Fleming, 30, even though Multnomah County’s animal services director said he is the legal owner, in a ruling requested by both Portland-area officials and those in Benton County, in which Corvallis and OSU are located.

That’s because the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office is investigating allegations of dog abuse made against Hanson-Fleming by Biggs, with the help of animal-rights attorney Geordie Duckler. He also filed a Multnomah County Circuit Court case against Hanson-Fleming on Biggs’ behalf.

Hanson-Fleming denies that he abused the dog, which he named Chase. The animal is being held in a Corvallis shelter while officials sort the situation out, the AP article explains.

An Oregonian article on the latest developments in the hard-fought case currently tops the newspaper’s most-comments list.

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