County officials to meet this afternoon to figure out how to reunite Annie the dog with previous owner


Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Annie's former owner, Chuck Hoage.

Barraged by calls from angry constituents, the Board of Supervisors and top county officials say they will meet this afternoon to find a way to reunite Annie, the Australian shepherd, with her former owner, Chuck Hoage.

Annie bolted from Hoage in the South County in June after a gunshot startled her, went missing for weeks and was adopted by a new owner. Since Hoage, who had been searching for Annie for weeks, learned about the adoption, he has been trying to get the animal back.

The new owners, however, have refused to give up Annie, an 8-year-old Australian shepherd.

The issue became a cause célèbre after it appeared in The Tribune last week and local talk show host Dave Congalton, a well-known dog lover, took up the cause.

“We’re trying to make everybody happy,” Supervisor Adam Hill told The Tribune. Hill has two Australian shepherds himself.

He said those present will pay any expenses incurred by the new owners, including the cost of a microchip, and will buy them a new puppy.

The goal, he said, is to reunite Hoage and Annie. ”It just makes sense. This is the guy’s dog.”

There are questions about miscommunication between Hoage and the shelter, and possible imperfections in the notification system for lost dogs, Hill conceded. But the immediate goal is reunification.

He said he will be meeting with Jim Grant, county administrative officer; Jeff Hamm, director of the county health agency; and County Counsel Warren Jensen in case the county decides to explore legal options for returning Annie to Hoage.

Hill made clear, however, that nobody wants to take that route.