A 10-year-old miniature dachshund named Spork has been declared vicious by the city of Lafayette in Colorado, CBS station KCNC-TV reports.
The Walker family has spent $6,000 to save their dog and they plan to go to trial. There's a lot at stake: Spork could be euthanized, the family could be forced to move or Spork could be kenneled.
"He's our baby," said Spork's owner Kelly Walker. "We've had him for 10 years."
In August 2009 Spork was at the Jasper Animal Hospital for what's described as routine dental surgery. Spork was in Kelly Walker's arms and nervous.
"He was defecating on my arm and the floor," Walker explained.
At some point while in the animal hospital lobby Spork bit the vet tech in the face. Walker didn't actually see it happen.
"I knew about it when she turned around with her back towards me and I said what's the matter and she said he bit me," said Walker.
At the animal hospital Walker was told Animal Control would be contacted.
"I was crying. The dog was shaking," said Walker. "It was a horrible experience."
For the Walkers, the situation would only get worse. A few weeks later the city of Lafayette served them with a vicious dog citation.
"We found a Daily Camera article from 2007 that said of 33 tickets like this have been issued, 26 resulted in euthanasia or relocation," said Tim Walker, Kelly's husband.
State law regarding vicious dogs actually exempts veterinary professionals from dog bites. The Walkers hired an attorney.
"When we filed a motion to dismiss these charges under state law the municipality of Lafayette said 'we can assert home rule. We can govern our own people,'" said Jennifer Reba Edwards, the attorney for the Walkers.
The case goes forward in April. The Walkers say they will fight with all they've got to save Spork's life.
"You can't take your dog to the vet and end up a criminal," Tim Walker said.
On Tuesday Dr. Donald Dodge, chief veterinarian and founder of the Jasper Animal Hospital, released a statement.
"Jasper Animal Hospital has not advocated for, or participated in any way in subsequent decisions by the City of Lafayette to prosecute Spork's guardians. We remain very worried about everyone concerned -- the dog, his guardians, and the injured technician. We consider this incident a tragedy, and we sincerely wish the very best for everyone concerned, Spork in particular," Dodge said in the statement.