May 8, 2007. Milan, Italy.
Earlier today, in a first of its kind law suit, Birillo, Ivan Basso's dog, filed court documents seeking undisclosed damages against Basso and an injunction emancipating him from Basso's ownership. Birillo's defamation suit was in response to Basso's admission that the blood seized from Dr. Fuentes labeled with the name "Birillo" was in fact his.
In a statement read by his attorney, Birillo stated:
My good name is ruined. I can no longer run free in the park without the other dogs snickering behind my back. Basso used my name without my permission. I had no knowledge of his actions.
I can no longer tolerate Ivan's hypocrisy. When this story first broke last year and Ivan was kicked out of Le Tour, I asked him if it was true. Did he use my name in Spain? He looked into my eyes, rubbed my ears and said "No Birillo, I would never do that to you." Ivan cried like a baby for days. I comforted him in his time of need as only a dog can. When Bjarne Riis came over and told Basso he would have to leave CSC, I growled at him and chased him down the driveway. When the paparazzi crowded our gate I barked at them too. I am so humiliated.
In response to Basso's claim that he only attempted to dope for the 2006 Tour de France and that all his other wins, including the 2006 Giro, were won clean, Birillo said:
What the hell does that mean: Attempted doping. Does he think we're stupid? We're not a bunch of cats. Ivan lied to me and everyone. I want to be free of him and live my remaining dog years without the shame of having been involved with such a man.
In response to his dog's suit, Ivan Basso stated:
I hope Birillo will reconsider. I really need his support right now. Dogs are supposed to be man's best friend right?
I guess even a dog has his limits.