On Tuesday I filed a lawsuit against the Ma-Su Valley Frontiersman, a tabloid paper that published false and reckless charges about me in May of 2011.
This is what they wrote:
So please, do yourself and your neighbors a favor and keep Fido under control. It’s the law. And even if Fido is a Pomeranian — all dogs are capable of biting.”
The reporters at the Frontiersman follow my blog and are well aware of my kind and gentle nature, yet went ahead and published their implicit slanderous claim about me. Quite plainly, in spite of their statements, it is well known that I have never and will never bite. Frankly, I am afraid of small kids and only wag and jump in the presence of adults humans. I don’t even bite dogs, not even Jackie who deserved it after she assaulted me. On my walks, I pull to cross to the other side of the street when I see Thing1 and Thing2. And at the dog park, I like to hide under the bench when the other dogs want to play ruff.
Because I am a high-profile blogger in the canine world, I expect to receive a lot of criticism. I am not thin-skinned about personal criticism. I consider myself very fortunate to be a cockapoo in America. Criticism comes with the territory and I respect it. I have never sued people who publish critical opinions of me, nor have I previously sued any news organization. But I also hope that people understand why sometimes, especially in the age of the Internet, when an unretracted lie can live forever, you have to draw the line. I honor vigorous free expression in the media. But even a public cockapoo can sue for defamation when a tabloid paper publishes a harmful assertion of a fact, not an opinion, that it knows to be false or recklessly disregards the truth.
Let’s be clear what this lawsuit is not about. It is not about money. I have already publicly committed to donate any financial damages I win to help homeless diverse breed dogs. Nor did I or any of my representatives ask for the tabloid writer to be fired, despite published reports to the contrary.
Simply put, this lawsuit is about the truth — and the need to correct the record. I will gladly withdraw my complaint if they publish a simple retraction (and a purge of the condescending moniker ‘Fido’). I would be quite content if they rephrased it to read “Even for dogs diminutive in stature – it’s possible that the dog is capable of biting unless the dog is a small furry cockapoo with floppy ears and a short stubby tail who answers by the name of Tommy, in which case just feed him some bologna and he will wag his tail.”