Dogs & Laws

3-lb Chihuahua Designated as ‘Dangerous Dog’

When Molly, a tiny 3-pound chihuahua allegedly nipped the ankle of a Windsor, Ontario postal worker, the city designated the pocket-sized pooch as a “dangerous dog.”

Because of her “dangerous dog” label, Molly must now wear a muzzle when she’s outside of her home – when her owner, Mitzie Scott, is able to find one small enough to fit her tiny snout. In addition, the Scott family must purchase a $1 million insurance policy against future “attacks” by the dog, and must prominently display a sign in their yard warning visitors that a vicious dog resides on their property.

Scott told CBC News, “It just seems so severe to me. We love the dog and we can’t get rid of the dog, but also that’s a very expensive monthly expense.”

Mitzie’s husband, Jason Scott, was outside doing yardwork when the so-called attack occurred. Molly apparently snuck out of the yard and nipped a postal worker walking by the home. Scott says he didn’t see anything and only heard his tiny dog barking.

The couple appealed the city’s decision because they have never been shown any bite or scratch marks, photos, or even a medical report since the event took place. However, their appeal was rejected by the city’s licensing commission.

Councilman Ron Jones of the Windsor licensing commission told reporters, “Nowhere in the bylaw does it indicate that a dog has to be 50 pounds to be designated as a dangerous dog.”

As for the Scotts, they believe a warning for the tiny dog’s first offense would have been sufficient.

“I don’t want to sound like I’m not taking responsibility because it’s my fault, she slipped out,” Mitzie said. “She’s three pounds, sometimes accidents happen. I just thought the consequences were just so extreme.”

What’s your opinion? Should the size of the dog, or the potential damage he could do be considered in labeling a dog as vicious? Are the Scott’s being excessively punished (the tiny muzzle, the yard sign, and the million dollar insurance policy) for little Molly’s offense? Or, did this case play out exactly as it should? Weigh in below!

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35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. RB

    Sep 8, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    The size should not matter, but PROOF that the dog actually bit someone should be REQUIRED before a dog could be deemed vicious.

    • Bev

      Jan 23, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      that’s my dog. nipping at ankles. I carry her now in public. They are a one person dog.

  2. Paul

    May 26, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    I think town councils should have to do more investigating into any situation. These decisions should also be determined by a municipal judge based on evidence and proof. Politicians should not be allowed to make these judgements. All dogs who are involved in attacks should be requested by the municipality to be evaluated by a canine behaviorist and his evidence can be presented to the judge to determine if a dangerous dog label is necessary. It’s not about the breed or size of dog that matters it’s about what damage the dog has done that matters.

  3. Beth

    May 24, 2013 at 2:40 am

    Umm, no proof? None at all? Regardless of the size of the dog there should be friggin’ proof!!! So I can walk by someone’s barking dog and claim it bit me and apparently be believed in this city? Good grief. Well, good luck finding a muzzle for that snout. I have a Chihuahua and looked into muzzles once…not that he needs one. They are veeeeery hard to come by, if not impossible. She could use a hair elastic I guess.

  4. Lee Anne Arnold

    May 23, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    This is a reply to Sweetz. Your question of why should a 3 pound dog be treated differently than an 80 pound dog! SIZE! how does a tiny dog physically hurt someone, how can she get her tiny mouth around his ankle! Show me proof of what this little girl did! Then I would understand the punishment. It’s crazy!

  5. tara

    May 23, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    i grew up with a “ferocious” chihuahua….and she did her job of protecting…as did we making sure she didn’t bite anyone…that was difficult, but she never broke skin…and now i have a wild pomeranian, and i am very careful that she is always protected from those who would jump for a suit, rather than stay away from my yard….HER yard…which she is protecting.
    why was there no proof of teeth marks, or breaking of skin?? otherwise, she was doing what she knew to do…protecting her loved ones and property. and they certainly sound like reasonable pet owners that would be sure to keep the dog contained…that should be the extent. i would file a counter against whomever next you go to. this is beyond penalty for the evidence produced.
    dogs shouldn’t bite. neither should children. but they do…and they will learn, as will the parents, to never allow it again.

  6. Laura Weiss

    May 23, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    This is ridiculous. A three pound dog nipped a guy get over it people. I can’t believe what I am reading here.

  7. Christine Cude

    May 23, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I’m not sure if the point is if the dog can do serious damage. . .if it bit or attempted to bite that is a problem. Now we have no proof of that but if that dog is going to bite there should be some consequence. My son got bitten by a 4 pound Chihuahua once and it hurt. Of course he didn’t need stitches; the dog’s mouth was so small. But it still hurt and we didn’t go to that friend’s house any more unless the dog was kept away from us. I don’t think they should suffer huge financial responsibility though. . . maybe required training for the little guy or something; I don’t know.

    I have a Boxer and Pomeranian. The Boxer scares people sometimes because she’s young and she jumps. She never puts her mouth on anyone though. The Pomeranian barks her little head off until you get inside or outside the door. Thankfully neither is aggressive. But with animals you never know. The only time that my Boxer EVER got upset was when my sister in law (who always has said she hated Boxers) and brought her two Yorkies with her. The Yorkie tore off towards my dog barking and nipping at her feet and she growled and lunged towards the Yorkie. First of all you don’t come to my house and wander in with your dogs off leash without letting me know you’re coming. I would have had a collar on her. It was just so weird! She has never nipped at any dog in any dog park or kennel. Something about that Yorkie just really set her off. With animals you can never be 100% sure how they’ll react.

    Oh also, if this was a one time thing why not a warning?

    We had a German Shepherd run towards us and put his mouth on my son’s arm before being called back into its yard. I did report it because they have been known to have the dog loose. They gave them a warning. It was documented. . . I was happy with that. A first time offense of a tiny nip? That’s crazy.

  8. Court

    May 23, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    As the owner of 2 chis (6lb and 4lb) I feel this is 100% fair. If this dog were a bull breed (who nipped and didn’t break skin) the dog would have already been euthanized. I think their inability to appeal is ridiculous, also why can’t they see the mailman’s records from the bite (photos, doctor’s reports, etc.)? Chihuahua “nips” leave marks, even through clothing. I know this to be fact (I’ve had a few myself). If we are to ever get past stupid BSL laws we need to level the playing field for all dog owners, an aggressive dog is an aggressive dog no matter its size.

    • ellen morrell

      May 23, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      Sounds like the postman has something against the dog’s owner? We definitely don’t know the whole story; regardless, the outcome sounds pretty stupid. If the dog did nip, I am sure the postman was asking for it.

  9. jenny charles

    May 23, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    What is happening to our legal system and an animals rights? My god people are allowed to starve, beat and abandon animals with little or no consequence but a 3 pound dog scares a passer byer and we go to all extremes to punish something with no voice. People are sick and need to start reevaluating there decisions and start acting like people who uphold the law, not abuse there position.

  10. ELLEN HALL

    May 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Most mailpeople will tell you they would rather be confronted by a rotti or a shepard then some little dogs. They find them easier to read and less likely to attack un provoked. That said the punishment does not fit the crime, A warning maybe a fine on first offence for any size dog would be okay. I would also demand that i see proof of injury

  11. kris

    May 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    if no one showed any marks or anything than regardless of size they should not be forced to do any of those things. stupid people make stupid laws..

  12. Bird

    May 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I have 2 Chihuahua’s and one is 12 lbs (yes a bit of tubby) but neither can puncture your skin as their jaws are not strong enough. Sounds like a money grab by the city…I would fight this fight to the end…no way should this family or dog be the shining example of a vicious dog bite!! And to the posty, carry some doggie cookies…oh and umm be a man…

    • nascarchick

      May 23, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Yes they can my little girl had 7 teeth removed shortly after I got her and I have the mark to prove Chi’s can and will leave marks.

      I’m tired of hearing about how small their mouth’s are. Total BS, the tiniest dog in the world can still bite hard enough to leave a mark. While they may not be big enough to cause a fatal injury accidents do happen.

  13. JAMIE MILLER

    May 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I have yet to see a 3 pound pup kill or do any kind of lethal harm to anything…give me a break…what a whoosie ass the postal idiot is.

  14. Colin

    Oct 30, 2012 at 5:52 am

    But what this article left out, is that Cllr Ron Jones had to put a sign outside his office that states “Behind this door, sits a stupid and incompetent Councilman”

  15. kelli

    Oct 20, 2012 at 7:39 am

    This is another good reason for all dog owners to get to know their mail carriers. My dogs have met every mail carrier that we’ve had, and the carrier knows my dogs are friendly. One used to carry dog treats in his bag, and would give out treats if we were outside. I always had them under control, and never let them just rush up to anyone, but one mail carrier was terrified of all dogs due to being mauled severely while on a different route. Out of respect I let her meet the boys, but always kept them inside when I knew it was time for her to be around.
    If you have friendly dogs who you wouldn’t need to worry about nipping or biting anyone, by introducing your mail carrier to your dogs can prevent all sorts of misunderstandings. However, if your dog is a known biter, nipper, or menace, you’re best bet is to make darn sure the dog is under complete control at all times, and is properly confined to your yard.
    Excessive or not, laws are laws, and they cannot be bent because someone thinks them absurd. As I stated above, had the dog been a pit bull, nobody would have bat an eye at the court order, but more than likely the outcry for euthanasia would have been the main argument rather than the absurdity of the court ordered terms.
    I have received some nasty bites from little dogs, and the worst one was from an aggressive Chi that slipped the fence and nailed me on the ankle while out walking my 3 dogs. The owner came out, and I informed him I was calling the police to report the bite, and dog at large, and he had the gall to say it was my fault I was bitten before brushing off his little dog’s offense, and stating the dog “couldn’t have hurt you” because of its size. Never the less, justice was served.
    Size matters not, the actions and consequences do.

  16. Gary

    Oct 19, 2012 at 11:28 am

    my mother was an invalid and had nurses and home-makers day and night in my home for over ten years. At the same time I ran a computer business out of my home and had many new customers each day. Never did my collie/shepherd daisy EVER bite or nip anyone. And i have tons of proof.
    But she did bark, snarl, and bare her teeth. Then she licked you if you let her and she stood there waiting to be petted. Somehow she had her signals crossed with the baring of teeth business and the snarl. But that was her way of saying hi, lets play.
    Never did i have an issue with daisy until a new postal worker came along
    who said daisy nipped her. Daisy never nipped anyone before that or after. But the word on one postal worker took over. The postal people wouldnt accept my story and sided with the postal worker. As luck would have it i pointed out that there was a collie/shepherd that roamed the neighbourhood
    at will and was a biter. That put them off me and off they went to torment that dogs owner,luckily for me! This story illustrates how we can jump to conclusions and my dog almost got wrongly classified. And wouldnt you know, i am in Windsor!! I have heard other stories too, about these postal workers. They are going too far in some cases and not even checking out the facts before they act.

    With this little dog it seems they could have perhaps required a muzzle when going out and not all the other stuff as well. They went overboard and need to re-visit this issue.

  17. kelli

    Oct 19, 2012 at 8:17 am

    I do NOT think it is severe. I think it is fair. As a professional dog trainer I encounter more small dogs who have issues with aggression than large because their owners don’t seem to think that size matters. I am a pit bull owner as well who has to deal with breed discrimination, and carry insurance based not on my dog’s actions, but simply because he is a pit bull. I could never live in an apartment or rend a home, and his breed is not allowed in local dog parks. All because of his breed. He has done nothing, and yet he is punished. As a matter of fact, earlier this summer my pit and I were walking, and a chi bolted across the street from between the fence slats, and began attacking my pit. He wasn’t really hurt, and was more annoyed with the dog, but had I tried to pick the dog up or shoo it away I would have been bitten. When the owner came to get her dog…she hesitated because she was afraid of my pit bull!? It amazes me how people can be when it comes to the types of dogs that bite.
    In yesterday’s paper a man is being charged because his labradoodle killed the neighbor’s terrier and bit the neighbor! Regardless of breed and size…a dangerous dog is a dangerous dog. A dog that bites must be controlled properly…period!
    This dog bit someone, and the punishment needs to be the same for ALL dogs regardless of size, breed, and whether the owners and other people deem it fair.

    • Pan

      Jan 3, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      Really? You think it’s fair, even though the family was never shown any proof, and we don’t know if the dog was antagonized or not?

      Yes, little dogs can be extremely aggressive (and sometimes much more dangerous than larger dogs) and all aggressive dogs should be treated equally. But we don’t know the entire story. I know my Shih Tzu bit someone one once because they were beating her (no, I wasn’t present, I would’ve kicked ass). Was she in the wrong? Should she be labeled and aggressive dog? I don’t think so. People can be pretty cruel when it comes to animals, and animals have every right to defend themselves.

      This would only be ‘fair’ if the family had been shown proof that their dog did something, and we knew the dog wasn’t antagonized.

    • nascarchick

      May 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      There should not be breed specific laws. I had a Rottie a number of years ago, goofy as all get out but would not hurt a fly unless he felt his family was in danger.

      I’ve also had Chihuahua’s, one of which was my heart and soul. One of my girls is the typical yappy possessive Chi that did not like men at all.

      Here’s my issue with your agrument and the article in general. The person that made the complaint did not provide proof of injury. Even small dogs will leave marks…My little girl left one on my upper thigh because someone made her made while under the covers. I didn’t punish her because I know how she reacts to things she can’t see. This is just beyond ridiculous.

    • Vicki

      May 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      you are bitter because you picked a breed that has a bad reputation. I think the mail man is making a mountain out of a moehill. A three pound Chihuahua cannot bite hard enough to break the skin. I know this because I have a 3 pound Chihuahua. I have diabetes and she alerts me when my blood sugar gets too low. She had to bite my finger one night to awaken me. It hurt a bit, but did not break the skin.

      • Hope

        May 23, 2013 at 4:19 pm

        I have a 5 lb. Chihuahua mix, a rescue with a sketchy past. LOL When I first brought her home OH YES she did indeed bite me, and she broke the skin and left bruises in several places on my hands. And they hurt like hell. With much love and patience she is now devoted to me and my husband, but I ALWAYS tell people not to touch her until she gets to know them. They can indeed bite, and hard AND FAST!!! But I think the “sentence” given this little girlie was way, way to harsh for an infraction that wasn’t even proven.

  18. Joy Bandy Hutson

    Oct 18, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    This is SO stupid! My parents have a Chi exactly like this, only she weighs 12 because she’s fat. She gets aggravated at us sometimes (ok, I admit we egg her on because she’s so cute) and bites us. We can’t even feel it and she’s 9 lbs. bigger than this one. Mail man must be one BIG WIMP…GROW UP! And the punishment put upon these people is RIDICULOUS!!

  19. peggy hodgin

    Oct 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    this is really stupid. it said the little dog nipped his ankle not bite it . i have a chi. that barks at everything but only wants 2 be seen.

  20. Robin

    Oct 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    how much damage can a 3lb dog do train the dog you have options don’t muzzle Molly she is only protecting her parent. 🙂 Cesar Millan can do it I know he can Molly is just feeling what her parent ( pack leader is feeling) when it comes to walks the pack leader is showing tenseness and Molly is feeling it as a threat to her pack leader so she bites the ankles.

  21. Sweetz

    Oct 18, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    As it might seem excessive to some…..look at the flip side. I have a 80lbs rottie who is deemed dangerous simply bc of her breed and size. She has never growled at, let alone bitten anyone…but I have to have secondary insurance, carry paperwork for her shots, put up “beware of dog signs, along with other things. If the dog did go at someone and that person felt threatened, why should the consequences be any different simply bc it is a tiny dog? Not saying the punishment is justified…bc it’s not….but my point is 3lbs or 100lbs…why are they treated differently?

    • kitten

      Oct 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      I’m with you it’s the point that no matter how big your dog is it’s your responsibility to have them under control. If it broke the skin it could become infected especially if the man was diabetic. It’s about time people start realizing little dogs are mean and can cause damage. I do think that punishment was a little harsh and if it was my dog I would have demanded proof

      • Beth

        Oct 18, 2012 at 6:43 pm

        Sorry but not all little dogs are mean. I have two Chihuahuas and yes they are yappy and protective but they don’t bite and they love people. However, having a little dog also means constantly batting stupid people away who want to “touch the puppy” who is a full grown dog btw albeit weighing 4 pounds. No I do not think that little dogs should get different treatment but I think that every case should be examined individually for big and small dogs alike.

        • Sweetz

          Oct 18, 2012 at 7:56 pm

          I don’t think she was saying they are all mean, I think she was stating they are not all these “cutie little, can’t hurt a fly bc they are so little” dogs. It all boils down to being a responsible owner. If my dog ever accidentally got out of the yard/house, she is trained not to go after someone. She will stay in her own yard. She will also stop on a dime and turn around if I call her.

  22. N. Mullet

    Oct 18, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    This is asinine!!..Did anyone actually see the animal bite the postal worker??..And…What did the postal worker do to possibly provoke the dog??if in fact,the postal worker was actually bitten!!.
    If this animal has a prior record..then that’s a problem..but if not…this is a stupid approach by the council…perhaps the constituents need to keep these stupid rulings in mind when the council comes up for re-election!! after all..it’s supposedly, your tax dollars at work!!

  23. joyce england

    Oct 18, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    doesn,t anyone have common sense anymore.A tiny dog like this can,t even open it,s mouth wide enough to cause harm to a grown man.What a wimp ass.

  24. Mary

    Oct 18, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    How bloody stupid!

  25. Jill

    Oct 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    3-lb Chihuahua Designated as ‘Dangerous Dog’ Article: I feel this sentence is quite excessive. I don’t understand the extreme harsh punishment for this family.

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