View Full Version : A sad story, but an important message (please read)

06-21-2004, 01:20 PM
Always watch kids around dogs. This weekend my young nephew, a year and a half old, was bitten in the face by his familyís dog. This dog is eight years old had been around my brotherís three kids since the day the kids were born. He had never bitten anyone before. He was trusted to be safe, and the worst possible thing happened. Now my brother has to find a new home for the dog; they have three young kids under six and a baby on the way.

Even a trusted dog that has never bitten anyone before can bite. It happened this weekend, and it also happened to me personally with my dog Bandit. Bandit got me on the face about 6 years ago and I needed 40 stitches to close it up. I made a decision to keep Bandit. I do not have kids. Bandit has never bitten anyone again, but I am obsessive about who he is around. I do not allow children around him EVER. People considered me crazy to keep a dog that had bitten me so severely, but the pain I would have gone through putting him to sleep would have been worse for me. My brother has responsibilities to his children first, and I understand why he wants to find a new home for Clyde, his dog.

My main point to all this is Ė I know all of you love and trust your dogs. I trusted Bandit, my brother trusted Clyde. Please watch your dogs around children, always! These things happen so fast. I do not allow any dog around my face anymore. I cringe when I see pictures of children and dogs when the dogs are close to the childrenís face.

Donít get complacent and think it can never happen to you, your dog would never bite. It can happen and the pain of betrayal is worse than the pain of the bite. Play it safe.

06-21-2004, 01:33 PM
Having never bit before I would assume it was something the child did to cause the dog to react that way. A dog of 6 years in a family environment with no known agression history just does not bite for no reason. Why I wonder, was a 1 and a half year old alound alone with the dog in the first place? I find it sad they would give him up so quickly without even taking him to the vet to see if something medical is going on, or seeking the guidance of a trainer and figuring out why the dog bit. Was the child pulling or tuggin on the dog etc.? Some children are very rough, and at such a young age I doubt the baby knows how to behave when around large dogs.

Though I do agree 100% that caution should always be had when having children and pets in the same household. We just adopted a puppy, aged 8 weeks and I have a toddler who will be three in November. Though there is a risk, the positives far outweigh the negativies and I could never not have a dog just because there is a maybe or an if that something will go wrong. You just hope and pray for the best. Many of my friends have dogs and have children and have never had a problem. Though I think it's absolutely silly to think something like this could not happen to me, you or anyone else. Has their dog had training?

06-21-2004, 01:40 PM
Your bird could peck your eyes out. Your mother could murder you. Your horse could trample you. Your school teacher could shoot you. Your co-worker could burn your house down. Your cat could scratch/bite you. Your neighbor could murder your child.

06-21-2004, 01:47 PM
Clyde is very well trained, my brother hunts with him. I have dog sat Clyde and he is one of the best behaved dogs I have been around. My brother's wife (the children's mother) worked for a vet until she had children and so they get all their vet care for free - he is regularly seen by this vet. I don't know if they have had him in since this happened, but I know my brother is very reluctant to give up his dog. He has a resposibility, though, to keep his children safe, and that comes first for him.

This dog has been around babies, toddlers and young children, he is used to tugging and stuff. My brother said my nephew was petting him, Clyde went still (no tail wagging) and snapped at him. Completely out of the blue.

I'm not implying people with children shouldn't own dogs, I just want people to be aware even trusted dogs can bite. I felt so bad after Bandit bit me - I felt so betrayed. It was very painful. The hospital has to report dog bites, so if my dog bit anyone again I'd be in deep trouble legally. It is a very painful dilemma.

06-21-2004, 01:58 PM
Originally posted by Kfamr
Your bird could peck your eyes out. Your mother could murder you. Your horse could trample you. Your school teacher could shoot you. Your co-worker could burn your house down. Your cat could scratch/bite you. Your neighbor could murder your child.

True. Society isn't geared towards giving dogs that bite a second chance. Keeping Bandit was a risk I was willing to take, but then again, I don't have children and I am an adult. I'm just asking people to watch dogs carefully around children. It only takes a second for something terrible to happen, and the aftermath is painful for everyone involved.

06-21-2004, 02:03 PM
What a sad story. I wish they would give their dog a second chance.. but I understand why they wouldn't. He deserves a good home though so hopefully he will get one. They should've been wtaching their dog and the child more carefully but I udnerstand how trust builds up.

06-21-2004, 02:07 PM
Originally posted by boscibo
True. Society isn't geared towards giving dogs that bite a second chance. Keeping Bandit was a risk I was willing to take, but then again, I don't have children and I am an adult. I'm just asking people to watch dogs carefully around children. It only takes a second for something terrible to happen, and the aftermath is painful for everyone involved.

It's a good warning - you never know - Thanks.

06-21-2004, 02:08 PM
I don't know why the dog bit, but it was most likely something the child did. Perhaps the dog had a sore on his head, or wherever the kid was petting him, and it hurt so he snapped.

I would not give up on the dog. I don't think they should have trusted the kids with the dog alone. Sure, the dog might not hurt them, but they could also hurt the dog.

06-21-2004, 02:36 PM
The alternative is keeping Clyde kennelled up. They have 40 acres in the boonies, the dogs were allowed to run free on their land. Poor Clyde is used to roaming (but he is very good at staying on their land, unlike Clem, their other dog, a bloodhound who will run off). What kind of life is that? Kept locked up all the time and not allowed in the house with his people? Or lock the kids up, and never allow them to go outside and play with their playground stuff and other toys?

People have a responsibility to keep their children safe first, dogs don't always get another chance. See how hard it can be, when something awful happens?

That is my point, if you have children and dogs together, watch them closely.

I did give my dog another chance, but at times I questioned it. If he had bitten anyone else, I would feel so guilty because he has done this before. Sadly, the court will always blame the dog, not the person, even if the person is at fault. That is a sad reality.

06-21-2004, 02:38 PM
Snapping and biting are VERY different things!!!! Dogs can reguarly snap, especially if stressed from a toddler hanging all over them, and in that case, heck I would have snapped at the kid too! Just because a dog snapped that is no reason to give the dog up. That can very easily be worked out with a trainer, which is the OWNERS responsibility. How sad they are so quick to give him up, after 8 faithful years. :(

06-21-2004, 03:16 PM
I wasn't there, but he snapped badly enough to warrant an emergency room visit, a huge gash under the eye, and a black eye. He had a choice - stitches or that new glue stuff (which I wish was around when I had my bite - I have an awful scar and I can't feel the end of my nose - it was bitten completely through). He has the glue stuff.

My brother doesn't know what to do - the dog can't be trusted around the children. They bought 40 acres and built a house so their kids wouldn't have to be raised indoors by the TV and the internet - they bought land so the kids could be raised and play oudoors. And what if he bites someone else's child? Do you think the parents would be quick to forgive? He'd be faced with a huge lawsuit. There are certain resposibilities you take on when you own a dog, and sad as it is (and I'm the biggest animal lover out there) people will always come first, dogs second.

It is very tragic, but I don't blame him one bit for trying to keep his kids safe. I certainly can't blame the baby, no matter what, it wasn't his fault. He's a baby, for pete's sake. Maybe the parents should have kept a closer eye, but my sister in law was right there and witnessed the whole thing. She is a very good mother, and I can't see, honestly, how this could have been prevented. The dog had been around these kids from day one.

Like in my case, Bandit was my dog and was trusted. He slept with me, in my bed. Something happened one night when I was on the floor playing with him. I want to think he was going for the tennis ball, and got my face instead. He got above my eye, through my nose and down my cheekbone, and through my upper lip. My nose is misshaped and I can't feel the end of it anymore. I have a large scar that runs from my nose accross my cheekbone, it is very jagged. I also have a scar from under my nose to my upper lip. I also don't get down on the floor with my dogs anymore, it makes me feel very vulnerable.

06-21-2004, 03:22 PM
PS - like I said, Clyde is trained very well. He has impeccable manners, and has never, ever shown aggression before. He is better mannered than my own dogs.

06-21-2004, 03:30 PM
PPS - My brother's kids are also good kids. They listen to "No", and for the most part are very sensible. I'm not saying they are perfect angels, and I'm not just saying that because they are my brother's kids. They are the only children I will babysit (my sister's kid, on the other hand, I refuse to babysit - he is a terror), they are good kids and have been around the dogs and other animals their whole lives.

Edwina's Secretary
06-21-2004, 03:42 PM
Thank you Boscibo for an important reminder.

Both parenting and pets carry huge responsiblities and sometimes, very tough choices. It is easy to second guess the decision someone else makes... it is far, far more difficult to make the right decision.

06-22-2004, 06:20 AM
I agree, luckies!! I would never put my dog in that position. I always put him up when my nephew comes over. He's made Duke growl before and of course, nothing was said to nephew and he's old enough to know better(almost 2 at the time) If Duke had to be put down because of an incident like this, I would be very angry.
Something to add because I didn't read the first post all the way:
You can't live your life in a way that something might happen. That's ridiculous. You can use caution and good judgement, however. Sort of the same thing Kay was saying, I think. But to not get close to a beloved animal because of what might happen? That takes a lot of fun out of life. Especially if you use that approach for everything.

06-22-2004, 06:48 AM
Originally posted by Edwina's Secretary
Thank you Boscibo for an important reminder.

Both parenting and pets carry huge responsiblities and sometimes, very tough choices. It is easy to second guess the decision someone else makes... it is far, far more difficult to make the right decision.
I agree.


Toby's my baby
06-22-2004, 09:29 AM
I am SO sorry to here about your nephew!

Boo Boo has bitten many people, he bit me in the lip when I was a few years old, he tore open Sara's head when she was about 6 when she was crawling underneath the deck to get him on a leash, he bit my grandpa's hand when my grandpa was holding him back from getting sara and I, and he bit my friend Rachels check and she was brought to the emergency room to get her face glued back together! :eek: Boo boo is know on a list where if he bites one more person the law enforcement is going to force us to put him to sleep!

06-22-2004, 10:42 AM
You are right. This is a very sad story. There are so many things to consider in this type of situation. I find it sad that after 8 years of the dog being trusted around children he makes one mistake and now he can't be trusted at all. I find the opposite also to be true...that this child can't be trusted around dogs right now.

I am not saying the child is cruel or the dog was too aggresive. What I am saying is there are several sides to any incident. Yes the parents have a responsibilty to keep the child safe. I agree with that statement 100%. But they also have a responsibility to keep the dog safe. They don't know what happened. Perhaps the child being so young and not knowing better shoved a finger in the dogs eye. I bet this child will be more cautious around dogs. And if the parents handle the situation carefully then the child can still grow up with the proper respect for animals and dogs and not learn to fear them.

For me I wouldn't be so quick to give up the dog. I would be more cautious in contact between the child and the dog and monitor the situation and see how the interact with one another now since this has happened. But I wouldn't just give the dog away. I mean..what are the parents going to do if he gets a bike and the chain breaks and cuts up the childs leg....are they going to ban all bikes from the kid? I know...silly example.:rolleyes:

However, I do think your thread and the discussion are an important one. Animals are thinking, emotional, feeling creatures. Just like humans that sometimes become fed up with other humans and strike out in many ways both verbally and physically animals can do the same thing. They are not a machine that most likely will never lose patience and snap.

We always said about our collie when people would ask if she bites...."Well she had never bitten anyone.....yet."

My cats I am always very cautious with when children are around. Both for the child and the cat. Cats scratch and bite at times....it is in their nature.

On the other hand, if children are to learn to grow up loving animals and working with animals then the parents have to accept that at times they will be injured by animals. I can't tell you how many times when I was growing up I was bitten, scratched, stepped on, kicked, thrown etc from all the dogs, cats and horses I grew up living with. It is natural consequences and must be expected. You can't wrap your children up in cotten batting and expect them to be able to cope with the world when they are adults.


06-22-2004, 11:27 AM
Thanks Denyce your post makes some very good points. Unfortunately, it isn't my dog and not my decision to keep him or not. :(

My SO wants to take him, but one of our dogs, Gandy, is very dog agressive and would probably tear him to shreds. I'm dealing with Bandit's diabetes and trying to get him regulated, and the stress from that is very high right now. Plus, we don't have room. We are full up in our little house in town.

My SO has suggested to them to muzzle Clyde when he is around the children, I don't know how that would work.

It is difficult to have a proven biter, as I have found out. I know if Bandit bit anyone again, he'd be taken away and put down, and I be sued. I'd lose everything I've worked hard for, and my dog at the same time. It is a very difficult situation to be in in our sue-happy society. I can't have people with children over, and when they do happen to drop in I am very tense and stressed. I have to put Bandit away. It has gotten easier as Bandit has limited mobility, so I usually keep the people out of the house. I may seem rude to some visitors, but the safety of my dog comes first. My brother and his family are very active in their kid's activities and the entertain frequently, there are other people over (with their children) all the time.

I don't know what I would do in this sort of situation. I personally have made a choice to not have children, but if I had them, I would probably be very angry at the dog if he bit my child in the face.

I know I was very angry at Bandit after he bit me. I avoided him for a whole week, not out of fear, but anger. I felt so hurt and betrayed that he would turn on me like that - I had never hurt him. Although while I was getting stitched up, the ER doctor told me he was required by law to report the bite to the county sherriff. I lost it. I started crying and telling everyone within earshot to "leave my dog alone, don't take him away", they assured me they weren't going to take him, they just had to report it. I was so upset they had to give me an IV of Demerol to relax me enough to stitch me up. I was angry later, though.

06-22-2004, 12:01 PM
I can understand your anger. We always get angry when something we love hurts us. Especially when we interpret it as intentional. I know when I was 15 one time my horse reached back while I was riding him and bit my leg hard enough to draw blood. I yelled..hollared and then reached forward, grabbed his ear and bit him back. *L* Right reaction or not I don't know...but he never bit me again. My cat Deirdre has gotten pissed off at me and attacked my face. Luckily never hard or bad enough to leave scars. I was pissed at her too. I hissed and snarled at her....and when she came over a few minutes later to give me kisses I turned and walked away. I think she got the message. But does it mean she will never get annoyed with me again? I doubt it...and she might even scratch on purpose again. But they don't think like we do. And for us as humans to assume they do is a huge mistake.

I am glad you got over your anger at Bandit and I understand your caution with him. I just wish more people would understand that an animals nature and way of dealing with it's emotions are different than ours. They aren't perfect but then neither are we.


06-22-2004, 12:06 PM
ps...My husband and I don't have children either. Neither of us has ever wanted to. But I hope that if I was ever in that position I would be angry at both of them..the child and the dog.

This weekend we were looking at dogs in the local shelters. A couple of times we were told that certain dogs weren't good with children. *L* My husband and I were both going...."BONUS!"

But we haven't found dogs yet that meet all our criteria. We have to be picky. Because once a dog is in our family it is there for life...for better or worse. We make very strong commitements.