animals, pets, kids' safety, dog attacks

I adore dogs, particularly large breeds – my family has always had German shepherds – but what I don’t love is irresponsible dog owners.

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When a small dog recently attacked my three-year-old daughter in public, as she innocently walked past it on the beach, within arm’s length of my husband and I, we found ourselves engrossed in a very public and embarrassing spectacle. For instead of being contrite, the owner of the offending mutt strongly objected to my use of force to extract said attacking dog off my poor, little lass.

We couldn’t believe it!? As proud dog owners ourselves up until only very recently –when our beloved labrador X ridgeback cross developed cancer in her old age and had to be put down – we would never have behaved that way ourselves and did not expect such heinousness from a middle-aged woman. How could she feel nothing for our scared, upset child and be so blatantly unapologetic for her dog’s completely unprovoked attack?

As a dog owner, it’s her responsibility to control her dog and ensure its behaviour is appropriate and safe in public at all times – off-leash dog beach or not. A child’s safety is paramount: it’s a sad state of affairs if kids can’t play freely at the beach without fear of a dog attack!

animals, pets, kids' safety, dog attacks

At the time, this dog owner then hurled abuse at us for my having kicked her small dog off my child, mid-attack. All I could see was my child in pain; her screaming her heart out in fear. Such is the absolute fierceness of mother love; I make no apology for turning lioness and using whatever force necessary to protect my child from harm and I wouldn’t hestitate to do the same again. Since when does the rights of dogs overrule those of a child? If you know your dog is prone to attack – or has behavioural problems – don’t take it out in public without a muzzle! Everyone knows, surely, of the deadly potential for dogs to attack kids?!

Luckily, my daughter escaped the incident with only a few minor cuts and scratches, but her emotional cost has been high: she’s now quite fearful of small dogs, something which we have been at great pains to try to quell and soothe.

I’ve also noticed a growing trend among dog owners for them to irresponsibly and selfishly let their animals roam freely across kids’ playgrounds without a leash, despite the signs instructing them to do the complete opposite. Again, this pet owner behaviour is both outrageous and dangerous. Kids and dogs can coexist happily, in the right environment, but don’t you dare let your dog terrorise my innocent children while they’re trying to play!? And if dog owners can’t or won’t behave responsibly, they don’t deserve to have pets – for their animals’ sakes too. Keep your dog on a goddam leash and stay away from kids!

animals, pets, kids' safety, dog attacks

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