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Old 09-24-2014, 03:51 PM
 
3 posts, read 2,582 times
Reputation: 10

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I'm looking for some advice on how to handle a child who won't leave our dog alone.

I have 2 rescue dogs, both Chihuahua mixes. Our 8 year old female, Lady, has had issues with a herniated disc a couple months ago, and now the vet has started her on gabapentin for nerve pain. She's a sweet, people-friendly dog. Recently, a neighborhood girl, age 5, has taken a liking to petting her every time we walk her around the neighborhood. This is not a big deal to me, but it drives my husband crazy because Lady (who has some potty training challenges) is easily distracted and the child interrupts her potty routine, which means my husband has to start over with her. The child has been asked several times not to distract the dog, but she doesn't listen.

Recently, when the child was petting Lady, the dog must have had a nerve twinge and yelped, and kind of lunged at the girl for a split second. She didn't bite (she never has), but it looked like she might. This has happened 3 times now when I've allowed her to pet the dog. The girl has a dog at home and pets Lady very nicely.

My husband has tried talking to the child's mother to ask her to try to make sure the girl stays away from Lady, just in case she would bite her out of pain. The mother basically told him her kid can go wherever she wants. This child, and others in the household, seem to have minimal to no supervision. She rides her bike all over our small complex and I've seen her and a slightly older boy wander in and out of another neighbor's garage when it was left open. Earlier tonight, the girl and the boy were upset that my husband wouldn't let them pet our other dog, and called him names and kicked our garage door. And when the parents call the girl to come home, she often flat out ignores them if she's playing or interested in something.

She's not purposefully hurting our dog, and I have no problem with kids petting either of our dogs normally. But we're very concerned about Lady biting her out of pain and us getting sued. I'm not sure where to go from here. Do we contact the police? Do we ask the parents to sign some kind of consent form, agreeing that we are not liable if our dog bites her? Any advice is appreciated. Please ask me any questions, and thank you for reading this long post!
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Old 09-24-2014, 04:04 PM
 
Location: Richmond, VA
836 posts, read 857,685 times
Reputation: 904
Quote:
Originally Posted by LyndsyJo View Post
I'm looking for some advice on how to handle a child who won't leave our dog alone.

I have 2 rescue dogs, both Chihuahua mixes. Our 8 year old female, Lady, has had issues with a herniated disc a couple months ago, and now the vet has started her on gabapentin for nerve pain. She's a sweet, people-friendly dog. Recently, a neighborhood girl, age 5, has taken a liking to petting her every time we walk her around the neighborhood. This is not a big deal to me, but it drives my husband crazy because Lady (who has some potty training challenges) is easily distracted and the child interrupts her potty routine, which means my husband has to start over with her. The child has been asked several times not to distract the dog, but she doesn't listen.

Recently, when the child was petting Lady, the dog must have had a nerve twinge and yelped, and kind of lunged at the girl for a split second. She didn't bite (she never has), but it looked like she might. This has happened 3 times now when I've allowed her to pet the dog. The girl has a dog at home and pets Lady very nicely.

My husband has tried talking to the child's mother to ask her to try to make sure the girl stays away from Lady, just in case she would bite her out of pain. The mother basically told him her kid can go wherever she wants. This child, and others in the household, seem to have minimal to no supervision. She rides her bike all over our small complex and I've seen her and a slightly older boy wander in and out of another neighbor's garage when it was left open. Earlier tonight, the girl and the boy were upset that my husband wouldn't let them pet our other dog, and called him names and kicked our garage door. And when the parents call the girl to come home, she often flat out ignores them if she's playing or interested in something.

She's not purposefully hurting our dog, and I have no problem with kids petting either of our dogs normally. But we're very concerned about Lady biting her out of pain and us getting sued. I'm not sure where to go from here. Do we contact the police? Do we ask the parents to sign some kind of consent form, agreeing that we are not liable if our dog bites her? Any advice is appreciated. Please ask me any questions, and thank you for reading this long post!
Honestly, it sounds like the little brats deserved to get bit Let nature take its course. I'm not sure they can sue if it is on your property, can they? Just say the kids were trespassing and weren't welcome on your property to begin with and the dogs were just protecting their territory (which you already warned the parents on a separate occasion in which they chose to ignore).
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Old 09-24-2014, 04:18 PM
 
Location: West Virginia
12,447 posts, read 31,530,567 times
Reputation: 8151
Stupid parents ... I don't agree to let the kid get bit. Maybe take the dog in a different direction. Or pick the dog up & refuse to let the kid touch her even on good days. Hopefully the kid will go play some where else & stop bothering.

You might get better advice from Lawyer or CPS They can check on the kid & Warn the parents IF the child does get bit its really their fault.
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Old 09-24-2014, 04:26 PM
 
13,832 posts, read 14,662,123 times
Reputation: 11521
tell the girl she can no longer pet lady because of her back pain issues. then do not let her approch the dog. too bad if the kid doesn't like it
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Old 09-24-2014, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Utah
5,005 posts, read 14,480,931 times
Reputation: 4990
Quote:
Originally Posted by hothulamaui View Post
tell the girl she can no longer pet lady because of her back pain issues. then do not let her approch the dog. too bad if the kid doesn't like it
^This is what I would do. If the parent won't parent the child, you need to protect yourself from possible future liability AND protect your dog from stress/pain. Good luck.
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Old 09-24-2014, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Squirrel Hill PA
1,966 posts, read 1,879,685 times
Reputation: 4000
Okay... you walk the dog on a leash right? So have you tried walking in another direction? She can't pet the dog if you don't stop and let her right? You don't actually have to stop ad let the child pet the dog and by the sounds of it you probably should not. Just keep walking. The kid is not forcing you to let her pet the dog is she? Are you adults not capable of taking control of the situation and preventing it?

I am sure the child is nice and not trying to harm the dog but the fact is you need to protect your dog. If your dog does wind up biting the kid it won't matter that it was a accident or not the dog's fault. The dog is the one that will be blamed and the last thing you want is some hysterical parent contacting animal control because your pup bit her precious kid in self defense. This never ends well for the dog.
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Old 09-24-2014, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,121 posts, read 22,989,204 times
Reputation: 35305
Quote:
Originally Posted by harrisce4 View Post
Honestly, it sounds like the little brats deserved to get bit Let nature take its course. I'm not sure they can sue if it is on your property, can they? Just say the kids were trespassing and weren't welcome on your property to begin with and the dogs were just protecting their territory (which you already warned the parents on a separate occasion in which they chose to ignore).
There's a law regarding what's called an "attractive nuisance." I'm thinking it would apply here. The kid is attracted to the dog, and comes onto your property, and gets bit. You are still liable.

Here's what I would do:

1) Write a formal letter to the parents and send it to them with delivery confirmation. I'd send it USPS priority mail with delivery confirmation. As a former property manager, i preferred using this method to certified mail, because the postman simply scans it as he drops it off, and nobody has to sign it or can refuse it or not go pick it up at the post office, etc. You will have proof of it being delivered.

In the letter say something to the effect that you are officially asking them to keep their daughter off your property, and away from your dog at all times. I'd put in there that the child is apparently hurting the dog, as the dog yelps, and you are afraid the dog may eventually bite her. That you are both concerned for the welfare of your dog, as well as their child. And that you have asked the parents to keep the child away, and have repeatedly asked the child to stay away, to no avail, hence you are writing a formal letter.

2) Call the police and ask to talk to someone there about the situation, and that you wondered if you could get some kind of record of your being concerned about this child who wanders the neighborhood and won't listen to you when you ask her to stay off of your property and away from your dog. Ask them how you should specifically handle getting rid of the kid.

I would definitely NOT mention that the dog has already snapped at her.

And write down your conversation with the police for your records, including names and dates and times.

If things don't improve, then I think you should consult a lawyer for what to do next.

You are very right to be concerned about your dog biting someone. In some states there is what's known as a one-bite rule. And after that, you are on notice that the dog may be "dangerous" and you are liable after that, no matter what. There are lawyers who specialize in dog bites, because the law (depending on where you live) says you are automatically guilty.

Some places will even require you to have the dog put down. That's the case here in Redding. I've heard of more than one situation where a dog acted aggressively, and the animal control captain can strongly suggest to the judge that the dog be put down, and the judge agrees - even for first-time offenses.

So, get help from the cops. They'll probably go talk to the parents and tell them to keep her off your property. But, at the very least, you will have a documented paper trail that you have been doing everything possible to avoid this obnoxious kid being bitten.
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Old 09-24-2014, 05:02 PM
 
35,108 posts, read 40,267,404 times
Reputation: 62061
Whether you have a paper signed by the parents or not regarding liability they would probably try to sue you anyway.

The best thing to do is tell the child that she cannot touch the dog again and do what needs to be done to protect your animal.
You have no obligation to allow anyone to pet your animal and you have no obligation to keep this child happy.
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Old 09-24-2014, 05:09 PM
 
621 posts, read 1,047,688 times
Reputation: 1246
Thats sad. But agree with everyone that you have to protect Lucy, yourself and in the end the child. I would look mom right in the eye, and tell her in a calm and low voice to keep her child away from your dog. Don't get angry, but make her know by the tone in your voice that you are serious.

If you have to step in front of your dog to block the child, do so and also use that voice to tell her she is not to approach any closer. She is a little kid and you don't want her hurt..... so sad there are stupid parents out there.
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Old 09-24-2014, 05:18 PM
 
13,591 posts, read 7,427,538 times
Reputation: 12504
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
There's a law regarding what's called an "attractive nuisance." I'm thinking it would apply here. The kid is attracted to the dog, and comes onto your property, and gets bit. You are still liable.

Here's what I would do:

1) Write a formal letter to the parents and send it to them with delivery confirmation. I'd send it USPS priority mail with delivery confirmation. As a former property manager, i preferred using this method to certified mail, because the postman simply scans it as he drops it off, and nobody has to sign it or can refuse it or not go pick it up at the post office, etc. You will have proof of it being delivered.

In the letter say something to the effect that you are officially asking them to keep their daughter off your property, and away from your dog at all times. I'd put in there that the child is apparently hurting the dog, as the dog yelps, and you are afraid the dog may eventually bite her. That you are both concerned for the welfare of your dog, as well as their child. And that you have asked the parents to keep the child away, and have repeatedly asked the child to stay away, to no avail, hence you are writing a formal letter.

2) Call the police and ask to talk to someone there about the situation, and that you wondered if you could get some kind of record of your being concerned about this child who wanders the neighborhood and won't listen to you when you ask her to stay off of your property and away from your dog. Ask them how you should specifically handle getting rid of the kid.

I would definitely NOT mention that the dog has already snapped at her.

And write down your conversation with the police for your records, including names and dates and times.

If things don't improve, then I think you should consult a lawyer for what to do next.

You are very right to be concerned about your dog biting someone. In some states there is what's known as a one-bite rule. And after that, you are on notice that the dog may be "dangerous" and you are liable after that, no matter what. There are lawyers who specialize in dog bites, because the law (depending on where you live) says you are automatically guilty.

Some places will even require you to have the dog put down. That's the case here in Redding. I've heard of more than one situation where a dog acted aggressively, and the animal control captain can strongly suggest to the judge that the dog be put down, and the judge agrees - even for first-time offenses.

So, get help from the cops. They'll probably go talk to the parents and tell them to keep her off your property. But, at the very least, you will have a documented paper trail that you have been doing everything possible to avoid this obnoxious kid being bitten.
By far the best advice so far. My first thought was to talk to the police before anything happens. The certified letter is an excellent idea. I would never let that child near my dog, either of them. Your poor dog with the bad back deserves to feel safe.
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