Woman charged with theft in custody battle over dog

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A woman who wouldn't give up her dog to its original owner earlier this month is facing theft charges after refusing to return the dog.

Jordan Biggs was arrested and charged with first-degree theft Friday in Corvallis. Police seized the dog "Bear" who was with Biggs at the time of the arrest, her attorney Geordie Duckler said. Police also threatened to return the dog to its original owner Sam Hanson-Fleming, who is now under investigation for animal abuse and neglect by the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office.

The charge stems from a bizarre turn of events. Hanson-Fleming lost his dog and then more than a year later found it with a new owner -- Biggs. However, Biggs refused to return the dog, who Hanson-Fleming had named "Chase." Hanson-Fleming said he loves the dog and wants him back, but Biggs, a student from Portland and who is studying in Corvallis, says the dog is now hers. She has named the dog Bear and she's filed a lawsuit to keep him.

Earlier this month, the decision of who rightfully owns the dog went to the Multnomah County Animal Services director, Mike Oswald. He asked for evidence from both sides and then made his ruling.

"Based upon all that I had, it appeared that the dog, Chase, is really owned by Mr. Hanson-Fleming," he said.

But Hanson-Fleming said Biggs still wouldn't give him back the dog even after the ruling and said Biggs filed suit in court, demanding that she keep the dog.

Hanson-Fleming, who has been convicted of three felonies in Oregon (two for drug-related crimes in 2000 and one for criminal mischief in 2003), is now being investigated on allegations that he hit, kicked, bit and urinated on the dog. The investigation also alleges the dog was kept in a filthy environment with feces and urine.