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.
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.
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.