It's a paternity claim with a twist. Two neighbors in Blythewood, South Carolina claimed a 4-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever named Sam, was theirs.
Sam came into the Eargle family's home four years ago as a puppy. He was outside playing when his guardian Kelli Eargle said Sam "decided to go on a little prance". But the family became concerned when he did not come back. "This dog is a part of our family," said Al Eargle. Three days passed. The family had canvassed the neighborhood with flyers. Then on the fourth day, Kelli turned onto a particular street and "there Sam was, being walked in the back yard of someone's home," said Kelli. "I knew immediately it was our dog. Basically stopped the car in the middle of the road and jumped out calling his name and he turned immediately and looked."
The Eargle's thought they had a happy ending. But the other family that had the dog felt this was their dog and were not going to give him up. The other family told Kelli that their dog had gone missing approximately a year ago, and he had come home on Sunday morning, around the same time that Sam had gone missing.
The Eargle's weren't about to give up. "I'd bet my life that that's my dog. That's my dog. I'm willing to bet my life on it," said Al. They got a lawyer and it was determined Sam would get a DNA paternity test. Sam stayed in court custody so that ownership could be decided. As Sam had been purchased from a breeder, Sam and his father were brought to a veterinarian for the DNA test. Both families witnessed the procedure as the DNA samples were collected and sealed in an envelope before being sent to Ohio for diagnostic testing.
Just a day later, the moment of truth had arrived. DNA results show a perfect match.
Since the DNA test proved Sam's lineage, the court released the family pet back to the Eargle's.
"It's great. It's great...He's very happy," said Kelli. But the Eargle's say they learned a strong lesson. All the drama could have been avoided with a microchip, which Sam now has along with a brand new collar.
"No one can believe this story. No one can believe that this really happened," said Kelli Eargle. "I've seen weird things, but I would never imagine something like this would happen. But it did," said Kelli's husband Al.