Dog row leaves Chelsea without coach

The tale of Chelsea soccer manager Jose Mourinho's clash with authorities began when his wife called Tuesday evening to say police were trying to seize their Yorkshire terrier over an alleged violation of Britain's strict quarantine laws, according to The Sun newspaper.

Mourinho left Chelsea's Player of the Year awards and rushed home, where his wife had refused to let police take the animal and had gotten into an argument with officers. Mourinho then argued with the officers himself, leading to his arrest for obstructing police, although no charges were filed. In the meantime, the little dog disappeared.

Now, officials are looking for the fugitive terrier, and Mourinho, whose outspoken criticism of opposing players, coaches and referees made him one of the most polarizing figures in English soccer, is once again at the center of a controversy.

Scotland Yard said the dog was to be seized under the Animal Health Act of 1981 and the Rabies Order of 1974. Britain's animal quarantine laws only allow dogs into the country after they have obtained a ``pet passport,'' a six-month process that involves rabies vaccination, tick and tapeworm treatment, blood tests and other steps.

Even pets born and bred in Britain need a passport if they are returning from abroad.

It was unclear if the dog had recently been out of the country, and a statement issued Wednesday on Mourinho's behalf said the dog had gotten all its proper shots.

“The incident occurred due to a misunderstanding over documents required for veterinary

regulations,'' the statement said. "Mr. Mourinho would like to make it clear that his pet dog was bought in England from a reputable breeder and has had all its necessary inoculations.''

A spokesman for Westminster Council said animal control officers were still looking for the small dog. He said the council had a good record of tracking down pets: in July 2005, it found actress Liz Hurley's dog, Emily, after the Labrador went missing.

Mourinho's dog will be handed over to police if it is found, the spokesman said.

A Chelsea soccer official said Wednesday the terrier was safe, without providing any further details. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Mourinho, a Portuguese native, said nothing in the sport has affected him like the media frenzy surrounding the police's attempt to collar his canine, the AP reports.

Mourinho made a reference to Tuesday's events and issued a plea for British media to leave his family alone during a news conference to discuss Saturday's FA Cup final between Chelsea and champions Manchester United.

Asked if it hurt him to hear commentators saying United had played the better football this season, Mourinho said: "Since what happened yesterday to my family nothing hurts me...It is impossible to compare my family with football."

Speaking at the club's Cobham training ground, south of London, he added: "What hurts me was what happened yesterday to my family, Reuters reports .

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik

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Author`s name Alex Naumov