- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 14, 2003

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — The owner of a 15-pound Shih Tzu named Sweetie is appealing to the Anne Arundel County Animal Control commission to try to stop her dog from being euthanized for biting three persons in less than a month.

The seven-member board, appointed by the county executive, will hear 80-year-old Marion Martens’ case Nov. 7.

“He’s a little guy, very friendly and very sweet, and I want my dog back,” said Miss Martens, who adopted Sweetie from the Anne Arundel County animal shelter in August.

Animal Control Administrator Tahira Shane Thomas said she sent a warning letter to Miss Martens after the second bite and decided after the third to issue a “potentially dangerous order,” labeling Sweetie a public safety threat.

The dog, who is thought to be 3 or 4, has been taken to the Millersville, Md., shelter.

“We don’t want this dog hurting anyone,” Miss Thomas said. “Just because they’re cute doesn’t mean they’re not a threat.”

But Miss Martens said Sweetie has bitten people only when he was scared or provoked.

Miss Thomas said the dog bit a 4-year-old girl on Sept. 1, piercing her cheek. She said the injury wasn’t too serious, but worries that Sweetie will bite again.

“If a small dog bites a small child in the neck, in the face, you have infection the same as you do with a large dog,” Miss Thomas said.

The second instance occurred Sept. 11, when Sweetie got outside and bit the arm of a passer-by who tried to restrain him for Miss Martens.

Then, Miss Martens said, Sweetie “nipped” the leg of an insurance adjuster who came to take pictures of him Sept. 24.

“It hardly broke the skin,” Miss Martens said. “It wasn’t even bleeding.”

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