WASHINGTON COUNTY, Fla. - After a dispute between the director of a local puppy rescue and the owner of a lost dog, the two appeared in court Wednesday to determine ownership of the dog and its six puppies.
Back in January, Billie Dominguez's pregnant emotional support dog, Adeline, ran away.
A few days later, a Jackson County resident found the dog and her newborn puppies at a park in Cottondale, and took them to Lucky Puppy Rescue in Washington County.
Terry Mattson, the director of Lucky Puppy, said they began taking care of the seven dogs.
"We had taken in a dog and her newborn puppies into our rescue on January 6th, and we cared for them just like we do many others," she said.
Several weeks later, Dominguez went to get them back, after her grandmother saw a picture of Adeline and her six puppies on Lucky Puppy's Facebook page.
But Mattson, told Dominguez that under a Washington County Animal Control ordinance, after five days of posting a notice of impoundment of the dogs, they can remain at the facility.
She then advised Dominguez to fill out an application to adopt Adeline and the puppies.
However, Dominguez filed a lawsuit, and she and Mattson had an initial hearing in front of Washington County Judge Colby Peel.
Mattson said Judge Peel found that Adeline and her puppies should be given back to Dominguez because the dogs were found in Jackson County, and Animal Control was not involved.
"Where they're coming to a gray area is they're not treating dog rescue as animal control," she said.
But Mattson refused to give the dogs back to Dominguez, because she was afraid that Dominguez would not get them fixed.
The two returned in court for another hearing on Wednesday.
"We didn't agree with it, but we are bound by law to follow the judge's order," Mattson said.
Mattson brought the dogs to the Washington County Sheriff's Office before the hearing avoiding any legal punishment.
"What I always want is to spay and neuter, and to find good homes," she said.
Dominguez picked up Adeline and the puppies from the Sheriff's Office following the hearing.
News 13 attempted to reach her for comment, but attempts were unsuccessful.
All parties involved are to appear at a final hearing, but the date has not yet been determined.
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