When the Blantons, an Easley family with young children, lost a little Chihuahua they called Lucy they say they were devastated.
But five months later, they realized the dog had been found and was under the care of a Easley city councilman and his wife for several months. That couple said they aren't willing to give the dog they've named Gracie back unless a judge rules they have to.
Monday night Easley City Councilman Dave Watson faced a lot of opposition for that decision. There was barely an empty seat at the meeting Monday, and the message from the dog's previous owners, community members and even other city council members to Watson was simple - give the kids their dog back.
The previous owners of the dog and their supporters sat in Monday's meeting, but before they got a chance to speak, city council members had a message of their own. The five other members of the council all asked Watson to return the dog to its original owners.
Watson didn't give them the response they asked for, stating that the dog was not a city council issue and he would not comment about it at the meeting.
Watson did tell FOX Carolina after the meeting that he didn't feel right giving the dog up because he received a note that she was not treated well by the previous owners, and was worried about her well-being. He said the comments from others at the meeting had not changed his mind.
Family friends of the Blantons said those claims aren't true.
"They are the most loving family and Lucy was a part of that family," said Darla Welsh, claiming the family spoiled the dog, and the kids even polished the dog's nails.
Some said Watson's decision to keep the dog is painting a bad picture of the entire city of Easley, and that's why they attended the city council meeting Monday.
"A council member is supposed to be upstanding person, do the right thing," said community supporter Terri Zook who brought her own dog to the meeting.
"The city has gotten a black eye, he's brought shame to city council, his position and to the whole city," said previous owner Keith Blanton.
In a written statement to FOX Carolina Councilman Dave Watson said:
"My political career comes second when it concerns the safety and well being of Gracie. I did not take this stance because I knew it would be easy for me or I was worried about a political career. I took it to protect Gracie.
It is not always easy to take a position, even if you're right, when lies and mistruths are being spread about you. You know if you tell a lie enough times, people will believe it. Ask any one in public life.
The mayor and others have told me no matter what happens I cannot win. I am not worried about me winning, I am only worried about Gracie winning."
Watson said the next step in this story is what happens at magistrate court, that date is currently set for late October.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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