Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 13:38 UK

Chirac gives away 'violent' dog

By Emma Jane Kirby
BBC News, Paris

Bernadette and Jacques Chirac with Sumo (2007)
Since Mr Chirac stepped down in 2007, Sumo has found life hard going

Former French President Jacques Chirac has announced that he has given away his beloved dog after it attacked him for a third time.

Sumo, a Maltese terrier, is reported to have bitten him in the stomach in their apartment in the capital, Paris.

Mr Chirac's wife, Bernadette, said the dog had been treated for depression after finding it difficult to come to terms with leaving the Elysee Palace.

The dog is now said to be enjoying life on a farm in the French countryside.

'Drew blood'

Since stepping down from office in May 2007, Jacques Chirac has admitted he has found retirement hard going but apparently it is his dog, Sumo, who has suffered most acutely.

He was going wild. He wanted to jump up and bite again
Bernadette Chirac

Used to roaming the large gardens of the Elysee Palace, the Maltese terrier has found down-sizing to an apartment on the Quai Voltaire unbearable and, according to Mrs Chirac, severe depression has turned him from an innocent white fluff-ball into a ferocious attacker of ex-presidents.

In January this year, Mr Chirac had to be hospitalised after the dog sank his teeth into an unnamed body part.

In this latest attack, Mrs Chirac said that Sumo had been lying quietly at her feet but flew into a violent rage on the approach of her husband.

The dog leapt up and nipped the former French leader in the stomach.

"I was very scared because there was blood. It's terrible, the small teeth like that. He was going wild. He wanted to jump up and bite again," she said.

Mrs Chirac, who noted the dog had never turned against her, nevertheless made the regretful decision to send Sumo to a farm in Seine-et-Marne.

He is said to be "very happy" there, and so far has kept his teeth to himself.

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