Illinois authorities told Chip and Karen McGee they'll have to go to civil court if they want to get Ginger back because they lack proof of ownership, The Chicago Tribune reported Monday.
The trouble began last December when a neighbor of the Tennessee couple abducted Ginger and turned her over to a shelter that subsequently transferred her to the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago.
Ginger was then adopted by a Palos Park family that doesn't want to give her up.
Palos Park Police Chief Joe Miller says his department is unable to resolve the matter.
"We can't just go into someone's house and remove their dog without a court order," Miller says. "They adopted the dog through legal channels and in good faith. It's a case with multiple victims."
According to Palos Park officer Diana Campbell, the case points up how important it is to microchip pets.