In a landmark case, the owner of an elderly Chihuahua who tragically died on an everyday walk in Osaka has successfully received 220,000 yen (almost US$2,000) in damages from the owner of a German Shepherd alleged to have brought about the death of their pet.

But what exactly happened that day, and was the German Shepherd – or rather its owner – really to blame?

Reports indicate that the 15-year-old Chihuahua passed away from a pre-existing heart condition during a short walk in February last year. The grieving owner of the tiny dog blamed its death on a large German Shepherd dog that was alleged to have suddenly charged at the Chihuahua upon meeting it in the street, bringing about its death by way of a sudden heart attack.

The culpability of the German Shepherd caused some debate, with many believing that it was only doing what comes naturally to a sociable dog on a walk. However, the owner of the Shepherd was still believed to be at fault for failing to control their animal in a public area. The bereaved Chihuahua owner originally sought 570,000 yen (almost US $ 5,000) in damages, but this was eventually reduced to the final amount of 220,000 yen.

We can fully sympathise with the owner of the Chihuahua. After all, there is little in this world as painful as losing someone who you love, and that includes pets. Still, we can’t help thinking that perhaps they could have taken steps to protect their frail and elderly animal from hazards that could reasonably be encountered on a walk, such as other, larger dogs.

However, the owner of the German Shepherd was perhaps negligent in failing to understand the impact of their large animal on smaller dogs. It’s unknown if the Shepherd was on a leash at the time, but it is concerning that it was apparently allowed enough free rein to interact with other dogs who might not have been so keen to play.

▼ German Shepherds, also known as Alsatians, are big, strong dogs.

Flickr © whostolecookies

Responses to the case online were far from sympathetic to the plight of the Chihuahua’s owner, with some accusing them of cashing in on the loss of their pet and spinning the situation to their advantage. Others claimed that at 15 years old the Chihuahua had enjoyed about as much life as could be expected, and would probably have passed on from its heart condition soon anyway.

“It’s a miracle it was even alive at 15 years old…”

“German Shepherd: ‘I was only trying to play…'”

“I’m going to buy 10 Chihuahuas and parade them near big dogs to cash in.”

“This actually sounds like a great money-making scheme!”

“220,000 yen is too much. What’s wrong with half that amount and some dog food? Oh wait…”

“In human terms, it would be the equivalent of being a plaything for a sumo wrestler. In that case I would probably have a heart attack, too.”

“How about you don’t take your elderly Chihuahua outside?”

“So did it drop dead on the spot? How do you know it had anything to do with the other dog, really?”

“This is sad, but probably the right decision. The owner of the German Shepherd should be more careful.”

Have you ever encountered a problem with a big dog? Do owners of big dogs need to take more responsibility for their pets out on the street? And was the compensation received fair? Who do you side with in this case? Leave a comment and let us know.

Source: 47 News via Livedoor
Main Image: Flickr © Crunchylens