BY BRUCE BRANUM
The Greenville Standard
The Illinois family of John and Tammie Hannah was recently reunited with their 7-year-old golden doodle ‘Tess’ in Butler County on Thursday, Feb. 16, after eight days when Tess was taken for a bit of a wild ride.
The Hannah’s, who live in Mansfield, Ill., had their SUV stolen on Wednesday, Feb. 8, and Tess was inside the vehicle.
The suspect, who stole the vehicle, drove to Nashville, where the car was found totaled.
The Hannah’s, after receiving the news of their vehicle being found, drove to Nashville and spent four days looking for Tess with no avail.
The suspect then made his way to Limestone County, Alabama where he stole another vehicle and was eventually arrested in Butler County on Friday, Feb. 10.
On that day, the Butler County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) responded to a call of a man walking along the interstate with a dog.
BCSO deputy Lt. Aaron McKee answered the call and was able to locate the man near the Garland exit on U.S Interstate 65. He offered the man assistance, which was taken, but McKee located a gun on the man during a pat down for safety precautions.
The gun was found to be stolen from Tennessee, so McKee arrested the man, Stephen Dougherty, age 27, and placed him in the Butler County Correction Facility and the dog in the Greenville Animal Shelter.
A following call to the BSCO from a landowner near McClure Cemetery on Garland Road, who thought someone was hunting on his property, led McKee to find a stolen vehicle.
The stolen vehicle was eventually tied to Dougherty and his current charges consist of Bringing Stolen Property and Receiving Stolen Property 2nd.
Meanwhile, animal shelter employees notice the dog had a location chip. After entering the chip information along with the stolen car information into the national system, it was determined the dog was owned by the Hannah’s.
They Hannah’s were contacted and they drove to Greenville to pick up their pet.
Butler County Sheriff Danny Bond said the couple was thrilled to get their dog back. He added, “We are glad for the couple and also to get Dougherty off the street.
He also noted Dougherty will also face charges from Limestone County to Illinois.
Birmingham television station CBS 42 (WEHT/WTVW) sent a reporter to cover the joyful reunion.