DeKalb jury finds man guilty of stealing dog

A DeKalb County jury has found a south DeKalb man guilty of theft in stealing a neighbor’s dog.

Chipper the shih tzu went missing from the Saade family in December 2010 and was later found living across the street in neighbor James Jeffrey Berryhill’s home in south DeKalb. Berryhill had renamed the dog Ralph and told the Saade family he had bought the dog for $400 from his housekeeper.

Berryhill could not provide any paperwork linking him to the dog before January 2011, however. The jury indicated his consistencies about how and we in got the dog were a major factor in their guilty verdict, according to Solicitor-General Sherry Boston.

Berryhill will serve 12 months’ probation for the theft conviction. He also must pay a $700 fine, reimburse the county $295 for boarding the dog and have no contact with the Saade family or the animal.

Chipper was returned to the Saade family in time for Christmas.