Chihuahua's owner seeks new trial

November 12, 1993|By Knight-Ridder News Service

KEY LARGO, Fla. -- Rocky the ambitious Chihuahua, true to his name, is making a comeback attempt.

The dog, whose amorous attentions to a neighboring Rottweiler made national headlines, is returning to the courtroom today. His owner, Dayami Diaz, hopes to persuade a judge to give Rocky a new trial.

Ms. Diaz was ordered to pay more than $2,500 to Kevin Foley, owner of Canella, the Rottweiler, after a trial last month in small claims court.

In late October, Monroe County Judge Reagan Ptomey found that Canella's pregnancy after her unplanned liaison with Rocky resulted in her hysterectomy.

Canella was in heat, and Mr. Foley planned to breed her "to an acceptable male" for a litter of pedigreed pups, according to Judge Ptomey's October order. Canella was on a leash on Mr. Foley's deck when Mr. Foley stepped inside to get her some food.

At that point, Rocky "entered plaintiff's property and Canella," the judge wrote. "A passing Animal Control officer observed Canella and Rocky passionately joined together and 'stopped to watch because of the difference in sizes' of the two dogs."

Mr. Foley took a color photograph of the scene while the animal control officer turned a hose on the dogs to try to separate them.

A month later, Mr. Foley learned that Canella was pregnant. But the litter of 10 pups was terminated via hysterectomy, leaving Canella sterile.

But Ms. Diaz says the hysterectomy wasn't necessary -- bearing a litter of Rotthuahuas or Chiweilers would not hurt Canella's potential as a producer of pedigreed puppies.

"I think it's very unfair," she said. "I don't think a lot of the facts were heard. A lot of the testimony was misunderstood."

Mr. Foley could not be reached for comment.

Since the story of Rocky and Canella hit the papers, Ms. Diaz has been deluged with phone calls and requests for interviews. Radio disc jockey Howard Stern talked about the dogs for 15 minutes. "Inside Edition" taped a segment.

Ms. Diaz is grateful for the attention -- some of the TV shows have given her money to help pay for the court case. So far, it has cost her $1,000 in attorney fees and she hasn't paid the judgment yet.

But she said she was surprised at the interest in her small claims case.

"I thought it was just a normal thing, getting a lawsuit against you over two dogs," she said. "But I guess it made news for a reason."

Rocky, who is 2 years old, is normally kept in a fenced yard, she said.

"When we're not home and he gets out, how can we prevent that?" she said. "I can't keep a 24-hour eye on the dog when I work 12 hours a day. It's impossible.

"Animals will do what comes naturally to them. Male dogs will go to any extent to get to a female," she said. "Obviously, he did."

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