There is nothing more comforting than the love of a puppy dog. Every kid should have a faithful four-legged companion trailing along behind them on their bike, following them on adventures through the woods, and eagerly waiting for them to return home from school for more frolic and fun.
Sadly, many young kids have a different, more violent experience of dogs. According to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among children, "the rate of dog bite-related injuries is highest for those ages five to nine years, and children are more likely than adults to receive medical attention for dog bites than adults." Each year, 4.5 million Americans (adults and children) are bitten by a dog.
Even more alarming than statistics though is the reality of rushing to the emergency room with a bitten, bleeding and traumatized child, as a Circle of Moms member named Aliah did recently after her five-year-old son was attacked by a neighbor's pit bull:
"He was playing outside in the neighborhood when he saw the neighbor let their pit bull dog out. He had been warned to stay away from the dog and thus mounted his bicycle to ride back home. The dog pursued and bit him in the rear end. The wound was an inch and a half wide and quite deep. It required stitches and staples. What would you do if this happened to your kid?" she asks.
There's unmistakable consensus in the responses she's receiving: anger toward the dog's owners, and agreement that the incident requires swift punitive action.
"Call the police, pound, whoever it takes. Your child's life is on the line," writes Nichole B., adding "I'd also punch the owners in their ignorant noses but that could be a big problem."
"I would call the police and file a report as well as submit the medical file to the police," advises Brittany G.
"I would demand that the dog be confiscated for testing, make sure it does not have any sort of diseases," suggests Amalea S.
"I have a dog and I love him very much but if he ever did this to a kid I would want to know and I would have him either put down or sent away to a farm," writes Sonia S.
"Honestly, I'd report it to the police and expect it to be be put down. If not, I'd run it over," admits Kayleigh E.
"Kill their dog and bury it while they slept," posts Emma N.
I can more than understand this type of outrage. I identify with it as well as the thirst for justice.
When my now 22-year-old stepdaughter Denise was about eleven, we took the family for a simple weekend camping trip in the recreation section of a local military base. We rented a cabin by the lake and brought along our canine companion, Charlie.
Under normal circumstances, Charlie wouldn't hurt a flea. He was indeed the perfect example of the kind of dog every kid should have. He was loyal beyond measure to the older kids and tolerant to a fault with Ian's toddler shenanigans.
We were following the rules. When we were busy milling around the campsite, we knew we could trust good-ole-Charlie to just park himself quietly until it was time to go somewhere again. Still, rules were rules and thus we had him on a long tether. Trouble is this left him at a big disadvantage when a woman showed up in the camping area with two dogs she immediately let off their leashes. One of them made an immediate beeline to mix it up with Charlie.
What followed happened so quickly it gave new meaning to the phrase "in the blink of an eye." Ian, who is now 13, was just a little tyke. My step son Josh, now 25 but then your typical teen and annoyed to be in the woods with his "rents," quickly changed character and pulled his little brother out of harm's way. Unfortunately, my step daughter Denise was not so fortunate. She's an animal lover and tried to break up the fight. My husband, Bob, immediately rushed a bleeding and confused Denise to the emergency room. I was stunned. And thankful for Josh's quick thinking. The military police came within the hour to take Charlie for a mandatory ten-day stay in what we dubbed "dog jail." The owner of the other dogs had made herself a fairly speedy departure but wasn't quick enough to prevent me from jotting down her license plate number. I later found out that she was also contacted by the military police.
Again, it happened all too quickly and we never knew which dog bit Denise. It really doesn't matter. The fact is that her hand required stitches. While we laugh a bit about the doctor's comment that her hand modeling days were over, it didn't remove the pain she experienced.
In Aliah's case as it was with this woman at the lake, it is completely inexcusable to simply let your dog run without constraint around others. Bottom line: Dog owners have a mandate to maintain control of their canine companion. No matter how wonderful that pet may be, the reality is that it's still an animal.
I love dogs as well. I grew up surrounded by all sorts of animals as my parents were farmers. There was plenty of room to run. My fondest childhood memories are of the things I did with a mutt named Toad. She was always at my side, riding a four-wheeler out to the back field or enjoying one of many, many horseback rides across the acreage of that dairy farm nestled below the Cascade Mountains. However, I can tell you this: If she had ever bit anyone, she'd have been put down. No questions asked. End of discussion.
Now in my suburban bedroom community, the dog goes for a walk on a leash.
And I cringe anytime I look at Denise's right hand. Her scars are faded - barely noticeable. But I know what happened. I wish it wasn't part of her childhood memories.
Please dog owners: Be responsible.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.