Duane "Dog" Chapman, <EM>Dog the Bounty Hunter</EM> Duane "Dog" Chapman, Dog the Bounty Hunter

The fourth season of the A&E reality show Dog the Bounty Hunter (kicking off tonight at 9 pm/ET) will document an alleged criminal's attempts to avoid incarceration. The twist: It's the show's star, Duane "Dog" Chapman, who has found himself on the wrong side of the law.

Chapman, along with his son Leland and buddy Tim Chapman (no relation), could spend up to four years in a Mexican prison on charges of "deprivation of liberty" stemming from their 2003 capture of convicted serial rapist Andrew Luster in Puerto Vallarta. (See Today's News, September 15, 2006.) A Mexican court recently ruled the team should be extradited for trial. Dog's wife, Beth, tells TVGuide.com she spends hours a day guiding their "Free the Dog" campaign, which has produced thousands of appeals from fans (including U.S. legislators) to the Mexican government and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to stop the extradition. A clearly distraught Chapman, who has even thought of quitting the hunting business and is currently out on $300,000 bail, says he's hopeful that recent legal research claiming private citizens can't be indicted for transborder fugitive abductions will help his case. "When we saw that," Beth says, "Duane just sat there and cried and said, 'The Lord is in control.'" 

Dog's missus is further optimistic because Mexico has never before asked for extradition on "such a minor charge," she says. If they lose the fight, the couple agree that they'll appeal. "My big daddy is beat down, but he's the Dog. He's going to rise again. He has this unbelievable comeback spirit," Beth says, going on to tout her husband's upcoming memoir You Can Run, But You Can't Hide.

Dog himself insists he was well within the law and won't have to do either. "Hang in there," he tells his supporters. "Truth will prevail."

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