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25/1/02
A Chihuahua in a million

A huge sum has been paid out following the death of the world's smallest canine.

Ondra the Chihuahua died last year following a long illness leaving owner Miloslava Vasickova, of the Czech Republic, devastated.

The little dog was in the Guinness Book of records in 2000 for being the world's smallest canine, weighing in at under two pounds.

The veterinary clinic, in the north eastern city of Olomouc in the Czech Republic, which was treating Ondra for a cold, was alleged by her owner to have administered the wrong drug thus causing her death.

Mrs Vasickova claimed that the clinic treated her with a drug normally used for treating cattle with worms. Following the refusal of the clinic to apologise or admit their responsibility in the matter Mrs Vasickova decided to sue the veterinary clinic and last week was awarded one million Czech crowns, which amounts to 20,000.

This amount has caused an outrage, being a far higher sum than has previously been awarded to humans for errors made by medical doctors. Mrs Vasickova has claimed that any money she receives will be given to a shelter for abandoned dogs. Head of the practice is Michael Mazoch and his lawyer Leos Vyhnanek has said the drug was suitable for treating cats and dogs but the amount varies according the weight of the animal.

The clinic has appealed against the verdict and the case is due to be heard later on this year.