Author Topic: "Excuse me, your child is about to be eaten by a Labrador!"  (Read 12014 times)

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snowdragon

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Re: "Excuse me, your child is about to be eaten by a Labrador!"
« Reply #75 on: April 23, 2013, 11:09:07 PM »
No but it's definately seems to be implied to me with all the focus on it being the parent's fault, or that the parent should be watching better- and yes, while that is 100% true, the fact of the matter is that the end result will still be injury to the child.

More than one adult can be at fault in a situation, but the adult who is responsible for the more dangerous creature or object is the one that, in general, needs to take greater precautions.

I should be able to drive my car at a normal speed on the road, but I am still not supposed to hit pedestrians if at ALL possible, even if they jay-walk. I am responsible for making sure my brakes are in good working order, that I am driving the speed limit (or slower, depending on conditions) and that I am on the lookout for pedestrians- even the ones that aren't where they should be. As the driver of a heavy vehicle that is my job. I can't just shrug and say "well, they shouldn't have been walking there, so I didn't bother beeping my horn to warn them or slowing down".

As a pet owner, your job is to keep the public reasonably safe from your pet, even the stupid or young members of the public.

I just don't understand why children must be 100% perfect from birth and parents never make a mistake, but a dangerous animal and a semi-reactive owner gets a pass for "just being an animal". I hear the excuse, what if this was the first time the dog acted up. Well, where is the "what if this was the first time the Mother was distracted, and the first time her child tried to wander around because normally she sticks right beside mum" excuse. You said in the OP she was around 4- for many kids that is the first time they are not in a stroller- maybe the mother wasn't used to her not being strapped down. Maybe that was her aunt, not her mother- her childless aunt who isn't totally used to small children and took the kid in an emergency for mum and brought the kid on an errand. Why do animals and pet owners get what ifs and excuses and not parents and kids?

 Why is it impossible to use words the way they were intended- a "Lady, get the kid away from Kujo" shouldn't be impossible to manage....

Animals and humans have co-existed for years. However, we used to treat them as purely property, routinely putting down the aggressive ones, so I'm not sure you want to bring up that argument.

I also don't see why the child's actions are being misquoted. "Inching" is not the same as "lunging" in any dictionary I own.


Parents and kids often get excused for their actions. But in this scenario the pet parent was doing something about her kids behavior and the child's parent wasn't.  So people are giving the person who was trying their best, the benefit of the doubt.

Rohanna

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Re: "Excuse me, your child is about to be eaten by a Labrador!"
« Reply #76 on: April 23, 2013, 11:13:39 PM »
I think I've said somewhere between 3-5 times already that I would expect the pet owner to speak up and ask for either help with the dog and/or for someone to remove the child. The OP's own words state that the dog was "barely" being managed- this is not the same as a dog that raised a lip slightly and growled- this is an animal actively trying to attack and being barely adequately restrained.

Again, what if it was a dog in a child-space being attacked. Is it the dogs fault for wagging his tail at a phobic child if he gets rocks thrown at his head? Even if to my child a open panting mouth and wagging tail means "attack" and not "play"? Or should I remove the rock from his hand while you walk on with the dog. Why does it have to only be preventative measures on one side?

The fact that the dog owner was doing "everything the could" and "acting appropriately" is entirely where we disagree. I have not once said the female-in-charge of the child was correct, but many people have said the pet owner was fine. I think both were wrong, even if the degrees of wrong are not the same. It is perfectly possible to have a situation where *both* adult could have handled things better, and my feeling is that this is one of those times.



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MommyPenguin

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Re: "Excuse me, your child is about to be eaten by a Labrador!"
« Reply #77 on: April 23, 2013, 11:20:10 PM »
Everyone keeps talking about the dog as being "dangerous," but... isn't snarling/growling the dog's natural way of saying, "Back off!"  Does it necessarily lead to attack if the person doesn't back off?  I mean, this was a lab, for goodness sake!  I know that there are always exceptions to the rule, but in my experience labs are generally pretty friendly family dogs.  Isn't it possible that the dog would never have done anything beyond growling, but was using the growl to try to tell the kid to go away?  Or is that not likely?  The owner holding him back doesn't necessarily mean that she knew from experience that he was going to attack, just that his growling alarmed her and she wanted to be *sure* he couldn't do anything.

I have a 4-year-old, and if that child were 4, she could definitely be young enough, if her parents hadn't taught her, not to know how to behave around dogs.  But it's *very* unlikely that she would also be at danger, as somebody suggested, for running out into the parking lot, etc.  4-year-olds are not toddlers and are generally fairly conversant.  I always think of 4 as the point when they are really "kids" and not just babies/toddlers/preschoolers.  The dog owner was probably reacting by controlling her dog, but probably also should have said something to the child about, "Please back away, you're scaring him and he needs his space," then, once the dog had calmed down, she could have tried to talk to the child about the way to approach the dog, if she thought it was just the child's approach that was lacking.

As the others have said, it's possible that the child did do something that made the dog angry.  A few people have implied that it was *only* the child approaching the dog that set him off, and that's possible, but the OP was also busy with other things and looked over to see the dog growling/child approaching it.  It's possible that something had happened before that moment, but we can't really know.

I do have lots of little kids, all of whom are fairly terrified of dogs because of being jumped on by off-leash dogs.  So I do get fairly annoyed when people let their dogs approach my kids with the whole, "Oh, he won't hurt them!" attitude, because the dog may not *hurt* my child, but he's setting back all the hard work I've put in to getting them to not shriek in terror and try to climb me when a dog approaches them.  Seriously, my child is 3 feet tall, stop letting your dog knock my child down and stand on her chest, you're scaring her to death!  Ahem.  But even though I am not a huge fan of unrestrained dogs, I would *not* blame the dog in this situation.  He was in the vet's office, he was staying in one spot with his owner, and he was under her control at all times (yes, yes, he may have been *acting* as if he would try something, but keep in mind that he did *not* do anything, so we can't know what, if anything, he would have done).  The child was the one who was approaching an animal that was possibly sick or in pain, and not reacting to the animal's "back off" signals.  The mother should have been watching her child.  If the child started walking around poking fingers in cages or trying to pet strange animals, that wouldn't have been okay, either.  A vet's office is a huge temptation to a pet-loving child, and it's really a place, like a candy store or toy store, where a parent needs to keep tight control over their child so that nothing happens to the merchandise/other customers.

sevenday

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Re: "Excuse me, your child is about to be eaten by a Labrador!"
« Reply #78 on: April 23, 2013, 11:26:44 PM »
The only thing I can see wrong with the original scene was that I didn't see a part where the dog owner called for assistance.  As soon as the dog began to react to the child, she should have called out for staff assistance.  It appears she did try to speak to the child, but clearly the child's judgement is already questionable given that it was walking toward the dog when the OP saw her. 

The mother was already on one strike when she came in on her cell phone and didn't get off of it while trying to make a transaction.  The second strike was failing to keep her child close to her, third strike was her apparent failure to notice the imminent danger to her child.   Although I guess it's a good thing on that last point... she strikes me as the kind to kick and scream about DANGEROUS DOGS CRUD MONKEYS!.  I agree with others that a vet's office is not a place where one expects to see a child.  They may be there, but they are inevitably with a parent and as such should be under their direct supervision - and not approaching strange animals.

The vet's office that I attend actually has a sign on their counter.  The first line says "Please put away your cell phone." The second line says "All children must be supervised."  It's only until the third line that they even mention animals: "All animals must be on leash or in a carrier."  I find it sad that any of these things must be directly stated. 

As others have said, growling, showing teeth, etc are all ways dogs communicate displeasure, pain, or fear.  A small child doesn't recognize these cues, and it is the parent/guardian's responsibility to ensure that they know where the child is at all times and that the child is not about to engage in dangerous activities.

*inviteseller

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Re: "Excuse me, your child is about to be eaten by a Labrador!"
« Reply #79 on: April 24, 2013, 12:08:30 AM »
The OP did say the owner told the little girl to stop, but the mother should have had that child at her side at all times.  As I said, I temped for 9 months at a vet as a receptionist.  Dogs (and cats) who were the sweetest most loving creatures anywhere else turned into nervous wrecks as soon as they walked (or as many the case dragged) through the door.  The dog knows vet=poked in places I don't like with sharp things and the loss of certain anatomy parts.  I, as an adult, am aware that in a waiting room full of animals it is not time to pet them or play with them.  A 4 yr old needs to be told this and kept under control.  The dog told the girl to back off in the only language it speaks and the mother didn't notice (or care) and OP was hopping for her and it is NO ONE's responsibility to control that child other than the adult she was with.  And as far as routinely putting down the aggressive ones...that is a learned behavior (Micheal Vick anyone?) and can, with the proper training and love, most aggressive dogs can be rehabilitated into loving family pets (Micheal Vicks dogs anyone?).  There are untrained pets that bark and jump and chew and bite.  That is dog behavior and without proper training and socialization they become the nuisances that cause people to be afraid of all dogs, but surprisingly they are a small population.  Both animals and children have to be trained so as not to annoy or hurt each other.  The owner of the dog in the OP did her part admirably and was quite polite (I would have had words with the poor excuse for a mother), but if that little girl is not trained correctly she will be a problem because she has not been correctly socialized and trained.  Both my kids and my pets have behaviors that are expected out of them so I can take them in public, and I expect others to do so with their kids and pets.  I just don't get the mentality of dog growling at approaching danger at the vets=bad aggressive dog that must be dealt with harshly but unattended child doing something we all agree is not safe=poor baby almost got chewed by doggy.   

Hawkwatcher

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Re: "Excuse me, your child is about to be eaten by a Labrador!"
« Reply #80 on: April 24, 2013, 12:11:26 AM »
I agree that the vet's office should be a safe place for animals.  I think that having a sign like sevenday's vet's sign is a good idea. But I think the best way to protect pets and children, would be to allow veterinarian office staff to remove clients who fail to properly supervise their kids and/or pets.  Perhaps if more of these irresponsible people were inconvenienced by their negligence, they might start parenting.

Contrary

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Re: "Excuse me, your child is about to be eaten by a Labrador!"
« Reply #81 on: April 24, 2013, 01:46:23 AM »
My kids used to be scared at the doctor too, but they weren't allowed to bite the little old ladies who wanted to come up and pat their heads and talk to them.   

Also, a dog that is snarling and growling and lunging forward, apparently intent on harming anyone or anything cannot possible be said to be under anyone's control.  A leash =/= control.  I'm willing to wager that as the owner held onto her dog's neck with both arms and attempted to contain him, she at no point felt 'in control' of the dog.


Need to Change

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Re: "Excuse me, your child is about to be eaten by a Labrador!"
« Reply #82 on: April 24, 2013, 02:41:18 AM »
My kids used to be scared at the doctor too, but they weren't allowed to bite the little old ladies who wanted to come up and pat their heads and talk to them.   

Also, a dog that is snarling and growling and lunging forward, apparently intent on harming anyone or anything cannot possible be said to be under anyone's control.  A leash =/= control.  I'm willing to wager that as the owner held onto her dog's neck with both arms and attempted to contain him, she at no point felt 'in control' of the dog.

The dog was in a vet's waiting room -- not a physician's office.  Big difference.

We don't know if the dog was ill or injured -- both conditions can lead to unpredictable behavior, and muzzles or sedation may be harmful.

The dog in the OP was not allowed to bite.  No bite occurred.

Not many vets make house calls (none in my area).  What else should she have done?

Gyburc

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Re: "Excuse me, your child is about to be eaten by a Labrador!"
« Reply #83 on: April 24, 2013, 06:11:17 AM »
I agree with Need to Change. The dog's owner was struggling to control her pet, but she was controlling him. The child, on the other hand, was being left to her own devices entirely.

And I also agree with the other PPs - this was a vet's waiting room, where you would expect to find animals of all different kinds and temperaments. Any parent in a vet's waiting room should be aware of this and keep a close eye on their child to make sure they don't pester the pets (or their owners), both for the comfort of the animals, and for the safety of the child.
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Shortylicious

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Re: "Excuse me, your child is about to be eaten by a Labrador!"
« Reply #84 on: April 24, 2013, 07:12:10 AM »
Back on the second page, reply 18 I asked what was the etiquette question in this thread. I fail to see how a discussion of snarling dogs and unattended children is related to etiquette at all. I think it's time to move on folks. There are many ehellions in need of our help and wisdom!

zoidberg

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Re: "Excuse me, your child is about to be eaten by a Labrador!"
« Reply #85 on: April 24, 2013, 08:29:36 AM »
Back on the second page, reply 18 I asked what was the etiquette question in this thread. I fail to see how a discussion of snarling dogs and unattended children is related to etiquette at all. I think it's time to move on folks. There are many ehellions in need of our help and wisdom!

And Artk2002 responded to you, but you chose to ignore the response. I really have no idea why you feel the need to shut down a disussion between several posters. If you feel that it's time to move on, then do. There's no need to police what other posters are doing.

*inviteseller

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Re: "Excuse me, your child is about to be eaten by a Labrador!"
« Reply #86 on: April 24, 2013, 08:56:30 AM »
My kids used to be scared at the doctor too, but they weren't allowed to bite the little old ladies who wanted to come up and pat their heads and talk to them.   

Also, a dog that is snarling and growling and lunging forward, apparently intent on harming anyone or anything cannot possible be said to be under anyone's control.  A leash =/= control.  I'm willing to wager that as the owner held onto her dog's neck with both arms and attempted to contain him, she at no point felt 'in control' of the dog.


We have many threads here about people asking how to politely (there Shorty) to not touch our children in public and the general consensus is it is rude to try and touch others kids.  We teach our children not to talk to strangers.  But a child can say something that we understand.  A dog has to tell people they don't want to be touched or bothered by barking and growling.  You have the dog lunging at this child...I would imagine if this dog was that out of control OP would not have seen the child still approaching the child, and the dog may have been trying to get away from the approaching danger because it felt cornered.  I have had to hold my lab like that once (really lady, bringing your dogs into my yard to play?) and while it isn't easy, it can be done.  It is rude to blame the dog and the owner for the behavior caused by the mothers inability to be a parent.  I don't see this as any different than the story that had been posted about the child trying to take another posters needle work at the dr's office.  The child was invading the posters personal space and would not stop.  Animals have personal space too.  It is not the dog owners or the OPs place to parent the child when the parent is right there and should have been in control the whole time.  Some posters are berating the dog owner for not controlling her dog (who again was in a place for dogs) but lets give that same amount of vitrol for the mother who did not control her child.  Dogs are expected to be trained..well, I expect children to be trained.

OSUJillyBean

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Re: "Excuse me, your child is about to be eaten by a Labrador!"
« Reply #87 on: April 24, 2013, 09:11:27 AM »
If the dog should have been muzzled, the kid should have been leashed. And apparently Mom needed to have that cellphone forcibly removed from her person so as to actually parent her child.
Sure, it is a dog's place, but what if it had taken equal exception to a small *dog* wanting to come up and play. Vet's waiting rooms are not predictable, safe places and if a particular dog may go viscious at an unpredictable or unexpected encounter then that particular dog should have extra restraints (not necessarily a muzzle, see below) in place on that occasion.

Just a sidenote - we have two unadoptable office kitties that have free roam of the clinic.  I believe our female kitty had wandered in sight of the lab (though out of reach) but the dog did not react to the cat.  Obviously I did not witness what set this dog off and I'm still in a sort of shock that whole thing even happened.  It was very fast and I am forever grateful to fate/diety/luck that the tech came along right when she did because that kid was just inching closer and closer, oblivious to danger and mom was oblivious to her.

Second sidenote - that same office-kitty sometimes will attack the police dogs full in the face.  I've often thought she had a death wish  ::)

OSUJillyBean

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Re: "Excuse me, your child is about to be eaten by a Labrador!"
« Reply #88 on: April 24, 2013, 09:16:04 AM »
OP, at the practice, did you guys mark the fronts or anywhere on a chart for difficult animals?  If so, all tho it wasn't in your OP, was the dog previously labeled as such? 
Absolutely.  If a dog was a known biter / aggressive for any reason (including fear-biting) it was put in capital letters on the top of their electronic charts and that would print off on every chart not seen by the public.  (You wouldn't believe the number of owners who insisted that because Fifi was so small or so well-bred (::)) she obviously couldn't harm anyone and we were big meanies!)

My own lab will show teeth to the vet staff when he starts running out of patience, but not if I'm there.  He has never bitten anyone in his life but you bet that it's marked on his chart because there is a possibility it might happen and I want the staff aware when they're dealing with him.

*inviteseller

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Re: "Excuse me, your child is about to be eaten by a Labrador!"
« Reply #89 on: April 24, 2013, 09:24:21 AM »
It is my experience from the time I worked that the smaller the dog, the greater likelihood of getting bit!  And we also had a discreet marking for owners who were difficult too  ;).