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Bite leads to 'dangerous' designation for chihuahua

When someone is the victim of a dog bite, that person has the right to seek legal recourse for the injuries he or she suffered during and as the result of that attack. Depending on the jurisdiction in which the dog bite took place and the severity of the injuries suffered in the bite, those legal consequences could include personal injury damages or monetary fines, jail time or even the forced isolation or euthanization of the animal that committed the attack.

Recently, a city took action and ordered a dog to be designated as "dangerous" after she bit a mail carrier. While this is not an uncommon punishment, the circumstances surrounding the incident make it rather unusual: the "dangerous" dog in question is a teacup chihuahua.

According to media reports, the dog bite took place in August while the postal worker was delivering the mail. After returning to the post office, the mail carrier was instructed to report the incident to police by her manager.

In compliance with a city ordinance, the bite led to the three-pound dog being classified as a "dangerous dog." The dog's owner's appealed the order, but it was ultimately upheld under the ordinance, which requires any dog that has caused injury to a person or another animal to be designated as dangerous.

Under the designation, the owners must post signs on their property warning passersby of their dangerous dog. They must also take out a $1 million liability policy, implant the dog with a special microchip that identifies her as dangerous and keep her leashed and muzzled anytime she is outside.

The owners have voiced their discontent with the ruling, stating that they may not be able to find a muzzle small enough for their dog. "She is the size of an adult shoe," one owner stated.

What do you think? Is the "dangerous" designation appropriate in this situation?

Source: The Huffington Post, "Chihuahua Designated 'Dangerous Dog' After Biting Mail Carrier In Ontario," Oct. 18, 2012

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