Tourists Abduct Resident’s Elderly Dog After Train Ride

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elderly dog

Blue Ridge, Ga – Two individuals, spied an elderly dog while riding the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway and assumed the owners abandoned the 18-year-old labrador retriever. They proceeded to drive to the location and take him.

Althea Gobble took to social media to alert the community of her family’s missing pet, Sam, once she came home that evening on Sunday, August 11. She hoped citizens could help find missing Sam.

Sergeant Scott White arrived on the scene at 8:35 p.m. Michael Gobble relayed details about the missing animal. Gobble’s neighbor who said that a male, now identified as Clay Manley, knocked on her door around 3:30 p.m. and asked about Gobble’s pet. She said they expressed concern over the animal’s living conditions, but she told the individual that the owner would return in later in the day.

Clay Manley saw elderly dog Sam from the train and decided to find him.

The neighbor was older and couldn’t see very well so she couldn’t provide a physical description of the suspect, but you could see the dog in her security camera at that time. However, Manley didn’t appear on her camera.

She also noticed at this time a Black SUV slowly backing up to the Gobble residence. Althea Gobble stated the man motioned to his wife to “come on” and left the neighbor’s residence to enter the Gobble’s back yard and take Sam.

Multiple witnesses came forward to state that they saw a black SUV on the Gobble’s property.

Althea Gobble also added that tracks were left in the yard from the abduction.

On August 12, 2019, Deputy John Kinser and Investigator Gary Edwards conducted a traffic stop at Old Blue Ridge Pharmacy. Inside the black SUV, the occupants Clay and Julie Manley had an elderly yellow lab.

During the preliminary investigation, Manley stated that he and several others on the train were “appalled” about the physical condition of Sam. Once he and Julie drove to the area, they attempted to contact animal control and humane society without success. He then addressed the neighbor.

Julie Manley backed the car up to take Sam.

Manley confessed he did remove the dog from the property without permission but did not call law enforcement about the suspected neglect.

Althea and Michael Gobble arrived to pick up Sam, who didn’t appear afraid of his owners. Althea posted to Facebook that Sam receives three walks a day, fed three times a day, and medicine for this arthritis twice a day. He stays on a lead because otherwise, he will wander off.

The Manley’s admitted their guilt in stealing the dog and paid a $2,000 total bond. They were visiting Blue Ridge from Florida.

The Gobble’s are ecstatic to have Sam back home.

elderly dog

Photo credit from Althea Gobble’s Facebook.


  1. Sandra Linton August 14, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    What on earth is wrong with people who think they can come up here and just TAKE someone’s dog out of their yard? They should be treated like they used to treat horse thieves!

    • Debi Griffin August 15, 2019 at 1:59 pm

      I’m with you!
      I’m appalled that they had the nerve to do this. As a dog owner of two elderly dogs I can attest, 18 years old for any dog is an example of exceptional care by the owners. The Florida couple needs to get a life… and maybe a dog of their own.
      Please don’t come back to Blue Ridge. Thieves are not welcome here!

  2. Nat August 14, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    Is this when somebody’s supposed to point out that a Yellow Lab doesn’t make it to 18 years old without exceptionally good care? Cool – I’ll do it then.

  3. KD August 14, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    My thoughts exactly Nat, no dog that size lives to be 18 unless they are well taken care of. It is just unbelievable people have the nerve to do such things!

  4. Beth August 14, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    What some see as normal, others may not. Thank the good Lord we’re not all alike.
    They should have contacted local authorities, but they didn’t and it cost them dearly, even though they thought they had the dog’s best interest at heart. Lesson learned on their part.
    In the meantime, handsome Sam is back home safely, where he belongs.
    Blessings answered!

  5. Teresa August 14, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    Absolutely ridiculous!! They are lucky they didn’t get shot!!!

  6. Jeremy August 14, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    His shirt says it all!

  7. Lana August 15, 2019 at 2:03 am

    OMG. The odds were astronomical. I felt so bad for you guys and thought you would never see Sam again. I’m so glad he his home safe. I hope this is posted all over fannin so people will know to mind their own business. Also hope the 2grand goes to the animal shelter. There is real neglect and then there is people like this making sure animals that are actually neglected don’t get help because of their idiotic actions. Just wanted to say “ you go girl” to Mrs. Gobble for being such a warrior. I have never seen someone get the word out that fast about anything. Mrs. Gobble quit your job the FBI needs you ….. seriously wow.

  8. Kitt Marsh August 15, 2019 at 11:02 am

    There was a “neighborhood” dog in our area who left the neighborhood and wandered several miles to our place. We brought the dog to the humane society
    And said we were willing to take the dog if no one called about him. A week went by; the dog had not had his shots, had not not been fixed, and had severe heart worm. He had to have terrible treatments for the heart worm. A couple of days after a woman called up about the dog. She said he was s neighborhood dog but declined to take responsibility for it. This may answer why people are concerned when they see an animal tied up in the hear of the day. If the dog had no collar then there is cause for concern

    • Miss Vicki August 15, 2019 at 11:52 pm

      This story has NOTHING to do with this case.
      People who don’t live in the area need to mind their own business and stop judging what people do or don’t do. Call law enforcement, but don’t steal animals.

  9. John E Noble August 31, 2019 at 8:53 am

    exactly miss vicki, my thoughts exactly. People need to mind their own business and i think the same thing everytime I read a comment about people picking up dogs, that they think , are lost. you see country dogs are smarter than city dogs and they sometimes like to visit the neighbors. Why do they think they are the answer to our prayers? MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, AND LEAVE OUR DOGS ALONE. Theres a saying “you dont have a dog in this fight” so if you insert yourself into a situation {dogfight} dont be surprised if you get BIT.

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