Dog custody dispute ends in plea deal

Jan. 29, 2013 at 5:17 PM

PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- An eight-month custody dispute over dog ownership may be concluding, an Oregon woman telling prosecutors she will plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of theft.

Jordan Biggs, 20, a Corvallis, Ore., college student, said she will agree at a Feb. 8 hearing a Siberian husky mix, which she met as a lost dog in March 2011 and kept, rightfully belongs to its original owner, Sam Hanson-Fleming of Portland, Ore.

The plea deal includes 80 hours of community service for Biggs, as well as an admission of guilt to a count of second-degree theft, dropping a lawsuit against Hanson-Fleming and an agreement to stay away from the dog and its owner, The (Portland) Oregonian reported Tuesday.

The deal will end a story that has included an arrest, $30,000 in legal fees thus far accrued and many international news headlines and Internet comments, the newspaper noted.

The dog, which Hanson-Fleming adopted as a puppy, was found by Biggs after it jumped over a backyard fence and escaped. Biggs, visiting Portland, took it back to Corvallis and kept it as her own until she, the dog and Hanson-Fleming had a chance encounter in Portland in May.

A ruling in July from Multnomah County, Ore., animal services director Mike Oswald determined Hanson-Fleming was the rightful owner. Biggs' refusal to give up the dog led to her arrest, the newspaper said.

The plea arrangement was referred to as "an end to the whole mess" by Biggs' attorney, Geordie Duckler.

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