Lucky the dog is back at home with his owner in Shoreline. The dog wasn't starved, dehydrated or visibly suffering. In fact, a vet who inspected the allegedly abused pet, removed from his owner's home two weeks ago, found him to be healthy and well-fed. So, with insufficient evidence to hold him as a victim...

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Lucky the dog wasn’t starved, dehydrated or visibly suffering from substantial physical pain.

In fact, a vet who inspected the allegedly abused pet, removed from his owner’s Shoreline home two weeks ago, found him to be healthy and well-fed with a clean coat.

So, after a decision from the King County Prosecutor’s Office that there was insufficient evidence to hold Lucky as a victim of animal cruelty, King County Regional Animal Services returned the dog to his owner Friday afternoon.

Lucky was confiscated after neighbors reported he had been constantly barking, locked in a basement and living amid his feces. His owner had been out of town two months, neighbors said, but a man came by to feed and water the dog.

The owner was reached Friday but did not want to comment.

Her daughter, however, said Lucky, an Alaskan Eskimo mix, is like a “family member.” She said the dog could come and go from the basement as he wished, but “he likes it down there.”

The daughter, who didn’t want to be named, said Lucky was her mother’s dog, but then her mother became ill and moved in with relatives. During that time, her brother regularly stopped by to feed and play with the dog.

When the brother had to go out of town unexpectedly, the owner’s ex-husband began feeding the dog by opening the sliding doors just enough to pour in food.

Lucky defecates in the basement, but the daughter said that “once a month, we clean it up.” She insisted Lucky is not poorly treated and that her mother loves the dog.

That may be, but when neighbors found out he was back in his owner’s hands Friday, they were upset — and writing letters in protest.

“I’ve already sent three in,” said Gerry Harris, who lives next door.

Harris is collecting neighbors’ letters to send to the national advocacy group Dogs Deserve Better. She expects to send at least five more.

“It’s very wrong,” she said. “That dog should not have to come back and live down there.”

Harris said the dog has gotten more attention from his owner in the past week than in the nine years the woman has had the dog. Harris said she’s complained about the dog’s obsessive barking since 2008.

The family called and visited Lucky and sent him toys at the shelter where he was held during the investigation, according to Christine Lange, a spokeswoman for King County Regional Animal Services.

Kelly Page, a local representative for Dogs Deserve Better, was furious when she learned Lucky had been sent back home.

She said her group would collect new statements from neighbors and submit them to the Prosecutor’s Office.

Even though Lucky didn’t prove to be a victim of second- or first-degree animal cruelty, Page said, there may be evidence there was a “failure to provide humane care,” which she said is punishable under a King County code.

“This is far from over,” she said.

Carly Flandro: 206-464-2108 or cflandro@seattletimes.com