Sumter County commissioners wrangled with another dog issue Tuesday night that wasn’t as easy to solve as a similar case two weeks ago.
A Great Dane found wandering south of State Road 44 was brought to the county animal shelter and the owner did not reply to repeated efforts to contact him.
The dog had a microchip linked to the breeder who sold it to the man.
When the owner could not be found, the breeder attempted to claim the dog, but was rebuffed.
Animal activists Angie Fox and Karen Taylor argued that the 85-pound, eight-month-old dog should be returned to the breeder.
Commissioner Oren Miller, who is Fox’s husband, said the dog is valuable and that the breeder has a contract requiring the dog be returned if the owner gives it up.
But County Administrator Bradley Arnold said the county is not bound by that contract and does not have a policy for breeders to reclaim animals.
The dog now is in heat and will be spayed when that is over in about a month, then put up for adoption, according to county policy.
County Chairman Garry Breeden said he could support a policy change allowing breeders to reclaim dogs if owners cannot be found, but it would not apply to the current case.
A happier ending came about for Mama Dog, a pregnant black lab who escaped its rural Sumter County yard several weeks ago. After a neighbor tried to claim the dog, possibly hoping the sell the puppies for profit, county officials released the dog to its true owner based on sworn affidavits. Mama Dog delivered a litter of puppies shortly afterward.