Monday, April 30, 2012
Exploiting Fear of Dogs
Mom was angry this morning. She was on one of her message boards and again saw someone trying to start dog fear by posting a link to a few stories about children killed by dogs. One story was questionable at best because it seems more likely a case of child abuse/neglect than a dog killing. The other was more typical of what one reads about in these cases, poor parenting. In this case, a child visiting a relative’s home attacked by a family pet.
Ironically, the vast majority of posters admit they fear or do not like dogs, but feel they are experts in knowing that dogs are not safe around young children. Well if you are afraid of dogs, it is best not to bring your children around them. Your fear and dislike of them is not likely to make the experience a successful one. However, creating the hysteria that NO family should ever have a dog in the house that has a baby or a toddler only increases the potential for homeless dogs as parents are manipulated into fearing that the family dog will kill the child.
Frankly, I was amazed at how many people bought into the scenario. As a dog owner, I am always careful when children come into my home. I have learned not to expect parents to be responsible for their children. I must always be responsible for my dogs and supervise any and all interactions. While I have never had an issue, it does not mean there is not potential for one. Children and dogs are unpredictable and when you do not know how they will react to each other, it is important to supervise.
I respect parents who do not feel they have the time, resources, or patience to handle both pets and young children. However, the current hysteria and hostility seems ridiculous. As with all things, responsibility and supervision are at the bottom of so many of these dog and children issues. Instead of focusing on the lack of those skills, people have chosen to scapegoat the dogs.