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« Toledo Newspaper Article = insanity | Main | Weekly Roundup - Week ending 1/18/09 »

January 17, 2009

Comments

Donovan

Brent, I agree, these conversations need to take into account parenting practices.

Additionally, these conversations need to touch base with the need for animal owner's to maintain the fences, kennels, and tethers that keep their charges at home; and, sometimes more importantly, work to keep the rest of the world out.

Doug

A 3.5 year old girl should have been supervised at all times. But unfortuantly kids are tricky little buggers. And it does not take much for a very good parent to be stumped by the curiosity of a small kid.

But as kids get older around 7 they are given more freedom to roam as their behaivor and their level of responsibilty dictates.

As a parent of 1 smart kid and one idiot 8/9 they are alowed to roam around the neighborhood/street which is unfortuantly filled with 2 90 pound dolbermans, 1 pit bull and a bull dog which likes to dig.

Unfortuantly You can't keep kids on constant supervision as they start to get older. You can only hope that you give them a good understanding of danger, have good neighbors and are within ear shot in case something happens.

The excuse that the dog attacked when the kids were unsupervised loses some of its meaning with older kids but not much with younger ones.

With kids above 7 it is not possible to supervise 100% of the time.

Also why does something always have to provoke a dog to attack. A dog can't just have a bad day and snap? While I am sure that the majority of dogs are provoked into an attack. You can't rule out the possibility that the dog just snapped an attacked for no reason.

Rinalia

Doug,

Idiopathic attacks are exceedingly rare (just like dog bite related fatalities).

What you or I consider non-provoking, a dog with no escape may consider quite threatening. Imagine, for a moment, you are an ancient 17-yr-old dog who has lived his whole life in a pen. This is all you know. For all those years, nothing has really transgressed to cause you to want to defend your turf - you just hung out in your pen and that was that. You didn't get much exercise, so you were a bit frustrated and bored. Then one day, a chipper, squealing, humanoid enters the one place you consider "yours" and you're flummoxed. Do you avoid, flee, greet or attack?

What happens when the squealing humanoid corners you and starts to tug on your ears, your tail nub, gives you a big hug? Maybe your instinct is to avoid, to flee but you can't. Maybe, at 17, being touched is literally painful. You're in a pen. So maybe you stiffen, maybe you growl, maybe you do an air snap. But the humanoid doesn't get it, doesn't back off. So you bite.

And with a 3-yr-old versus a 90lb dog, one bite can kill.

That is a far more logical explanation for a dog biting than a dog just "having a bad day" and "snapping for no reason". While the child may not have intended to provoke this dog, entering his small turf where he has zero chance of escape is nothing more than serious provocation to a dog.

Sad, sad story. :(

Rosemary

Maybe we ought to educate more that one of the most dangerous things a child can do is to fall into a run where a dog is confined. From the dog's point of view this must be completely unexpected and frightening, and I doubt whether even a well-socialised and friendly animal would necessarily recognise immediately that the child was harmless.

Selma

A 17-year-old dog is ancient, especially for a larger breed like a Rott.

The dog's hearing and eyesight are likely not what they were. Maybe the dog was snoozing (old dogs do that a lot) and the kid touched him, jumped on him or startled him awake.

I don't really see anyone to blame here, having been the parent of a very bright, nosey and stubborn little kid myself decades ago, as well as the owner of some pretty big dogs in the past.

I'm not excusing the dog, just saying that little kids are annoying to dogs at the best of times for many reasons and that if there was a hole, it should have been repaired.

As pointed out above by Donovan, my fence is more to protect my dogs from outside nuisances as well as to protect them from my dogs (obviously it also contains them and marks my property line).

Brent

Rosemary,

I disagree that entering a dog run is one of the most dangerous things a kid can do. Dogs are actually remarkably safe. Kids can do a whole lot of more dangerous things -- like jump on the furniture, play on playground equipment, take baths, or ride in the car with parents. That said, children certainly need to learn to respect dogs -- especially ones they don't know to prevent tragedies like this from occurring.

Doug, after 17 years, a dog just doesn't have a bad day. And yes, children over a certain age certainly spend time without adult supervision. However, attacks of older children are exceedingly rare. I can only think of 4, maybe 5 instances in the past 4 years where a child over the age of 6 has been killed by dogs. Most of the cases have involved multiple stray/off leash dogs and at least one involved a dog that was injured and badly in distress (was hung up on a fence) and a 10 year old girl tried to help the scared/injured dog. The onese most at riske are under the age of 4 when they are not supervised.

Lindsay

Who knows what happened. You are right that the discussion needs to be about the parents - who was supervising the child?

Just the fact that the 3-year-old crawled through a hole in the fence is enough to drive many dogs to attack. Their territory is being invaded.

I can't imagine how either of these families are feeling right now. What a terrible story.

Kristi

I am horrified at how many people keep trying to blame the parents here!!! You people are insane! Why is everyone so quick to assume that the dog had no history, the owners were perfect and that his age made him gentle? I LIVE IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD. I KNOW THIS FAMILY. I have small children too. These were excellent parents. If you have ever had a small child then you will know that you CAN'T keep a toddler under constant supervision. You do your best to keep them safe and within easy reach but it is a terrible fact that accidents happen in the most loving homes. As for the dog it does have a reputation. The meter reader won't go in that yard. It was a yard dog. It did not live in the house. The owner was years behind in vaccinations. The hole in the fence was so small that no one ever imagined a child could fit through it. And finally which is more precious? A child or a dog? If you say they are equal then ... I'm done ranting. Reevaluate your priorities.

Kristi

One more thing in case you persist in suspecting the parents...they were close enough to hear it happen and come running. People who defend these dogs make me sick! Check out dogsbite.org.

Brent

Kristi,

No doubt that the child's life is more important than that of the dog -- I don't think anyone here said that. This situation is tragic on all fronts.

I think you said it best - accidents happen. I don't doubt you that they are good parents -- with a lapse in judgment by allowing their young child to be left alone too long in their backyard unsupervised.

This by no means excuses the dog owner from the need to socialize their dog to prevent it from being aggressive.

But the reality here is that the dog was securlely on the owner's property, and the unsupervised child wandered up to the dog. It's terrible -- but placing the blame on the dog isn't exaclty logical either.

I am truly sad for both families in this case.

As for the dogsbite website, they're hardly a credible source for anything. No one there has any experience at canine behavior, and most have probably not met more than one or two dogs of any of the breeds they work to ban in their lifetimes.

In the past 3 weeks, there have been four attacks around the world that are virtually identical to this attack -- with 3 different breeds of dogs represented. We can either continue to act as if this is a breed specific issue -- or we can stress the importance of parents watching their young children and of dog owners socializing and properly caring for their dogs.

The latter would most definitely improve public safety -- the former has proven to be fruitless around the world. Dogsbite does not care about public safety...they care about getting vengience for an attack that occured to the site's founder.

We can't continue to go around blaming dogs for every accident that happens because of a lapse in judgment by a parent.

Kristi

LAPSE IN JUDGEMENT?!?!?! You obviously do not have kids. Attacks happen with the parent right there. They can't let their daughter play in thier own backyard?!?! As for the website, I confess I'm not researching things well but I keep finding people who blame the parents and defend the dog. Well I'm sure that they are wishing with all of thier heart that they had stopped her from going through that small hole but it was an accident. By definition that means that there was no fault on either side. So why do people keep putting the blame on the parents? Why do so many comments I have seen on news sites and places like this want to see the parents jailed, investigated, etc.? In my anger I do lash out at the dog and lean towards placing blame there. I know that's just my anger but it was not a trustworthy dog.

Brent

Kristi,

I don't have kids. But I do think that 3 1/2 years old is awfully young for a child to be left outside playing on their own.

I just find in infuriating that people like the website you posted use an instance like this as a reason to try to put restrictions on all Rottweiler owners across the country. That makes no more sense to me than if the child had wandered into a street and been hit by an SUV driver to ban SUVs. (By the way, that website gave a dog warden of the year award last year to a dog warden that had a 30% increase in dog bites in his community last year).

No one here has called for the parents to be investigated or jailed (I think they've definitely suffered enough already). I certainly don't think the dog owner deserves it either. I just think this incident screams as a reason to bring up the conversation about supervising young children that are too young to really fend for themselves or make good decisions on their own, yet are very mobile, and about the need for people to socialize and train their dogs, regardless of wether they are contained or not because you cannot always control every situation -- especially if this dog was a yard dog, as you say.

Becky

Well, I have had 3 year olds many times. My own 3 and lots that I have babysat. While babysitting AND supervising 6 children at a swimming pool, I once pulled a 2 yr old and later, a 3 yr old out of a baby pool where they were floating face first, and I was not slacking, I was busy counting heads and it happened in a split second.

A 3 year old cannot be left out of your site and definitely not outside without a guardian's physical presence. TOO much can happen. When 2 of mine were 3 we rented a home with lots of trees and bushes and many kinds of berries which I did not recognize. Mushrooms too. I had a 3 year old who put everything in his mouth. (gum from public ashtrays and once an abandoned melting ice cream sunday) We were outside all the time, but I had to watch him like a hawk.

There was a 9 yr old neighbor kid who frequented our yard, showing them his brass knuckles out of which popped blades. There were snakes. There was a roaming, aggressive dog. There were cars. There were poisonous plants. There were mean neighbors and crazy neighbors. There was stuff I have forgotten. There may have been pedophiles I did not know of. There are a zillion things out there that can harm and kill your child.

In a split second, my 3 yr old daughter would 'disappear' in a store, usually hiding inside the clothing racks. What if someone else found her before I did??

In the home, there are poisons and knives and electrical outlets. When my husband turned his back, my 4 yr old stuck a key in a socket and couldn't pull it out. My 2 year old daughter fell down the basement steps when my husband left the door open and turned his back.

Children wander OUT of their yards, unsupervised and are harmed way too often. They even wander OUT of their homes and are harmed.

A 3 year old has no judgement and cannot be permitted to leave his yard, unattended. At the dog park, 3 year olds have thrown rocks at my dogs, hit them in the face w/ sticks and hit and taunted them.

I am not blaming these parents, but am saying that blaming dogs in enclosures will not increase the safety of children. The only thing that will increase the safety of children is pounding stuff thru their heads and supervising them constantly.

If you cannot constantly supervise your 3 year old, then bad things may very well happen. This MUST be prioritized and it does NOT only apply to dogs. Brent and all of those who state the conversation must change are correct.

This dog was in his own 'enclosure' in its own fenced yard. If there is a hole in your fence, you must fix it. If there is a dog next door, this is your responsibility as much as the neighbor's.

A dog's life may not be more valuable than a child's, but if a parent cannot take total responsibility for their child's actions, then a child will never be safe.

I am sick and tired of parents demanding that the government make the world safe for their children. This is not the responsibility of the government because we must not allow the government to have that much control over us. The responsibility of a 3 yr old's safety lies with his parents.

I cannot even imagine the heartache of these parents and the agony they must be going thru. No, they should not be questioned or doubted or punished in any way, because there are worlds of trouble 3 yr olds get into. But killing the dog has not brought their child back and blaming the owners of this dog will never solve anything.

Feel free to tell me where I'm wrong here and I will consider.

Becky

And to Kristi -- maybe I have not read every post carefully enough, but I don't believe everyone is defending the dog. They are saying there is no way to know what happened.

And I disagree: NO, you cannot allow a 3 yr old to play outside in her own yard unsupervised. That was true 25 yrs ago and is true still today. (I think I listed enough stuff)

And yes, you CAN constantly supervise your toddler. You must. Stuff will happen if you can't.

Carey

The reports in the news were not correct. People need to not judge anyway but especially unless they know the WHOLE story. The PARENTS were not even at the house when this happened (despite what the news reported). The grandfather was watching the 5 yr. old grandson and 3 yr. old granddaughter. If you are not use to watching this age, maybe he did make a fatal mistake by not watching her like a hawk. But, all he was doing was putting dinner in he oven for the family (less than 5 min. of his granddaughter being unsupervised). The fence was also in the process of being repaired. The kids did not play in the back yard but in a side area that was separate (so it was unusual for her to be in the back). It is a horrible tragic story where no blame should be placed on anyone. Prayer and sympathy should go out to these families. Can you imagine how they would feel reading these things some of you are saying? Do you want THEM to have to go through this AND defend themselves too? It is a sad, sad world we live in. :-( I just know that I hope you all never look away for a moment when you are driving, never leave your child for a moment to possible "go to the bathroom!", or forget to lock your door at night when an intruder enters, etc... I would hate to see you get chastised like people have here. People make mistakes that can lead to horrible things...it is called being human. Lets be kind to each other instead of condemning!

Brent

It appears that the two people who have insider information on this situation don't really have stories that jive with each other.

Either way, my heart continues to go out for the family and everyone involved in this attack. I cannot begin to imagine the pain that is happening with this family, or the pain that comes with owning a dog that you know was the aggressor in this tragedy. It is just truly a horrible situation.

Selma

When my daughter was five, she was playing at her friend's place down the street. I decided to check and saw her holding her mouth. She had ridden her buddy's tricycle down the front steps and cracked a tooth.

We rushed off to the dentist's within an hour, all turned out well.

It didn't occur to me to blame Emily's mother, or myself, or my daughter. Stuff happens.

I hope I wasn't creating the impression that I blamed anybody with my comment because that's not what I said; in fact, I don't think anyone is to blame - stuff happens. The perfect storm.

It's just sad and horrible when that 'stuff' is so tragic and unnecessary. The person who will suffer the most is the grandfather, imo, if that version is accurate.

MichelleD

DogsBite folks are cerifiable whackos and on the verge of a class action lawsuit...

Kristi is coming from a different perspective and doesn't realize what most of us have been thru. I'm sure she just found this post on a Google search and has no background with Breed Descrimination or knows the heartache and pain we've been thru fighting for the lives of our beloved family members because of horribly tragic incidents like this one.

People want something to blame. In attacks like these people won't accept "It was an accident". That sounds too simplistic and beyond their control. They want someone or something to be punished - the PUNISHMENT they CAN control. If justice can't be found they'll seek vengence instead.

Most often it is the dog that is blamed for being evil. I will NEVER blame an animal - we domesticated them and it is our responsibility to keep them safe/others safe from them. There is a human behind every incident like this that should have done something different - I think there was obviously a lapse in judgment given what happened. A lapse in judgment by the child's family and by the dog owner. Hindsights 20/20 ya know - it doesn't make anyone a horrible person.

Rinalia hit the nail on the head...I'm convinced that is exactly what happened. And like Selma said, a perfect storm. Obviously we can't depend on the news reporting to give a clear picture...

Kathryn

I am a proud owner of a mix breed dog thought to have pit in his bloodline. I also know the family of the girl in this horrific event and have known them for the past year. With that said, I have extermely mixed emotions about this event. I will miss Brooklynn and her cute little smile and crazy personality; however I am extremely saddened that so much attention is being put on the breed of dog that did this. I truely believe in my heart that any breed of dog is capable of such actions depending on the situation. It is with a saddened heart for both families that I ask everyone speculating and pointing fingers to look within your heart and imagine what the families are going through.

doug

Well now we are up to a fourth child killed this year....

Dogs are just as to blame as people.

Dogs are considered property under the eyes of the law...and if you have property that is potentially dangerous to your neighbors you need to do what it takes to protect your neighbors....from your dangerous property.

Because you can always replace your property...you can't replace a true family member such as a child.

Again I would like to find out if these latest two deaths if the owners of the dogs has a criminal past...or if they made prior violations of animal code enforcement.

If your not a responsible person, you should not be able to own dangerous property.

Brent

"Dogs are just as to blame as people"

I disagree. People are always to blame. The dogs are just a byproduct of whatever lack of socializations, training, boundaries, whatever that their owners create. If we continue to set dogs up to fail, eventually they will.

Selma

Um hate to break the news, but dogs can't read so they are unaware of human laws and cannot, therefore, be held culpable. Were they forced to face charges (as we saw in the Middle Ages with many domestic animals) they would be found unfit to stand trial.

They do have their own laws which work very well indeed.

They kind of boil down to the Golden Rule, in a bark-bark woof-woof way.

Folding Dog Stairs

I am not blaming these parents, but am saying that blaming dogs in enclosures will not increase the safety of children. The only thing that will increase the safety of children is pounding stuff thru their heads and supervising them constantly.

Jeremy Moore

These comments are for the most part sick, the facts aren't correct and everyone is suffering right now. That being said - You people are blaming the parents, who are incredible people and parents. Where were the parents? Hmm. Read any recent news lately? star-telegram - Sat, CBS 11 Sat, WFAA ABC 8 Sunday, I guess you all quit commenting when you realized that this was a supervised child, I know this for a fact!!!!
And that she was pulled through the fence an into a corner of the neighbors yard in less than 5 minutes, by the dog. I don't notice any of you posting now with more accurate information beginning to emerge from us. Very freaking interesting. It seems for some reason FW animal control has begun a zero tolerance policy. I guess, you all must be repairing the fences of your rotts / pit bulls , and getting them registered. Or maybe they took your dog today, who wasn't vaccinated, or registered, maybe just chained to a tree, or running free. Citations are a real bummer huh....? Doesn't compare to the loss of a child. I'll never have any other dog than my great danes, but I know what my responsibility is and I know when a dog needs to be put down! Grow up people, a child was killed by this animal. It paid the same price she did. game over. They aren't blaming anyone, although as their friend I am, but they are better people. Just stop and think if it was your child, or your dog, or even your dog who killed your own child.... Unless you know the facts, want to help, or worked the scene... Please just keep your darn comments to yourself. Keep talking the way you are, and I guarantee we'll have these breeds banned in Tarrant and Dallas county this year. Responses are more than welcome, I have an open line of communication with 4 major news outlets.... Wanna feel bad for the dog being put down and continue saying these were bad parents, get ready to get rid of your rotts and pitbulls, Our community will make it happen, or you can just shut your mouths, especially since honest to god - you guys don't care about this particular dog, or this child... seems like.... hmm? YOU ARE ONLY THINKING OF YOURSELF! Bring it, Triple dog dare you! How's that?

Brent

Jeremy,

You're comment, almost to a tee, is why this blog even exists.

There is plenty of blame to go around. From all reports, it certainly sounds as if the dog was a yard dog -- and lacked proper socialization. It is extremely important for dog owners, regardless of what breed they own, to properly socialize their dogs.

My neighbors have a young child, and together, with them, we've worked to socialize my dogs with their son. I want to know that if for some reason their son wanders into my fence when the dogs are out there, I want to know that my dogs will react positively to the situation (and they of course do to). It's not much work, but important. So I CERTAINLY blame the dog owner in this case (who I'm sure is dealing with her own grief having to live the rest of her life knowing that the dog she owned took the life of a child.

Meanwhile, I've yet to see one report, or hear of one report, where the child was actually being supervised. All reports have whoever was watching the child (either the grandfater or the parents, I've seen different reports on this) went inside "for only five minutes" and left the child outside unsupervised for that amount of time. Children at that age require constant supervision -- they are the worst combination of both very mobile, and yet not at all rational thinkers yet. It's the worst of both worlds for a parent.

There is plenty of blame to go around.

What is unfortunate is then when someone decides to use this type of case, which is extremely rare, to then try to blame MY dog for the incident...as if they were at all involved. Which is what your desire to ban breeds in Tarrant and Dallas Counties is -- blaming other people for a situation that rose out of the combined blame of two families.

And I will accept the responsibility for any mis-reporting that I do here. I, unfortunately am at the mercy of media reports to get my information -- and as you well know, they are not always accurate.

Until we have the honest conversation about what leads to attacks like this one, and truly educate both parents and dog owners one the reasons behind them, they will continue to happen. We MUST have these real conversations. It is my hope that we can so that something like this never happens again. I would hope that we can agree on that.

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