Two families fight custody battle over small dog

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Two families find themselves embroiled in a cross-county tug-of-war over who has the right to call a small dog their pet.

A Maltese who went missing and resurfaced seven years later and 2,000 miles away from his home has caused a cross-country tug-of-war over who has the right to call the small dog their pet.

Emotions ran high when the Miller family from Houston, Texas welcomed the dog back into their arms after he ran away in 2007.

The Millers said they couldn't find their dog, named Reese, anywhere. But while he seemed to have completely disappeared, they said they never forgot him.

"We never gave up hope, and we never stopped talking about him," one of the Millers said.

They were thrilled to get a phone call saying the dog was found in Tacoma, Washington thanks to a microchip connecting him to the family.

However, not everyone is living happily ever after.

It turns out Reese had been living a double-life, also going by the name of Harley.

The Wolfords in Washington said Harley is their beloved dog, adopted 6 years ago. The shelter said the previous owner had given him up and never mentioned a microchip.

Though the Wolfords desperately want the Maltese returned, the Millers said they're not giving him back, and experts said they don't have to.

One legal expert said that because the Millers have possession of the dog, they'll probably be allowed to keep him.

The Wolfords said they don't blame the Millers for wanting to keep the dog, but they are upset with the shelter they adopted him from for not checking for a microchip.

They are comforted in knowing the dog is in a good home with a loving family.

"Harley has touched our lives more than you can explain," said a member of the Wolford family.

ABC7 News contributed to this story.
Related Topics:
petsdogsshelterpet adoptionadoptiondistractionu.s. & worldWashingtonTexas
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