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Owners get $1,300 in death of dog killed by neighbor's pet python,0,3113856.story

Associated Press
Posted May 9, 2006, 2:30 PM EDT

WEST PALM BEACH -- The owners of a small dog killed by an 11-foot Burmese python were awarded $1,300 in the death of their pet.

A small claims court judge on Monday awarded Boynton Beach residents Wayne Vassello and Shana Lane the amount in damages and court costs.

Vassello was walking the pair's 8-pound rat terrier, Max, in February and let the dog off his leash near their apartment. A neighbor's pet python, Diamond, had gotten free and grabbed the dog by the head, wrapping several coils around him.

The owner of the snake, which survived, argued in court that Vassello is partly to blame because he let Max off his leash and that he might have accidentally hit the dog with the golf club.

Vassello and Lane said Max was a part of the family: They set a place set for him at Thanksgiving dinner, and he was to be the ring bearer at their wedding