Feb 17, 2014, 06:52AM

When a Dog Attacks Your Kid

Mama bear mode times a thousand.

Dogeye.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

We moved to the country. I’ve never lived on over an acre before, but I love it. The darkness of the sky, the silence, the privacy. We hadn’t met any of the neighbors, which was fine with me. Then, on our sixth night in the new house, our teenage daughter was walking our 12-pound Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on a leash when the Saint Bernard from a nearby house attacked both her and our dog.

She came screaming to our house, banging on the windows, that the 200-pound dog had our dog. She was shaking, crying, and her white coat was bloody. Our dog showed up, he was bleeding. Neither of them were injured badly enough to be taken for emergency care, but both were completely freaked out. Their wounds seemed to be caused by scratches versus bites, which was not comforting.

I was livid. I’m not a big dog fan to begin with, so to discover in my new home, even as I was unpacking boxes, that my child and her dog had been attacked sent me into a tizzy. After determining that no trips to the doctor or vet were necessary, I marched next door with my husband. This is a terrible way to meet the neighbors: “Hi, we’re the McCarthy’s. Your dog attacked our kid and our dog.” But that’s how it went. They asked if our daughter had crossed onto their property. Of course she hadn’t. Blame the victim? Then they mentioned they had discussed getting rid of the dog “if this ever happened,” and that the dog has “jumped the electric fence before.” None of this made me feel better.

I went home and got more of the story from my daughter, learning the dog had actually left their property to attack her and our dog. I took her back to the neighbors’ house to explain what had happened.  She was merely walking our dog on the leash. Their dog actually picked up our dog in its mouth and shook it around like a toy—when my daughter tried to intervene, he jumped up on her (he’s about twice her weight) and knocked her to the ground. She tried to protect herself and it was her hands that got scraped up in the shuffle. They were apologetic, told her it was not her fault. She was terrified they’d get rid of the dog and it would be her fault. The dog (who will forever be called Cujo in my brain) growled at me.

For a few days I pondered what to do. I wanted to call the county but I felt badly ratting out the neighbors. But every day after the incident, that dog was loose and in the backyard again and my younger kids, having seen their sister and their dog, were afraid to go outside because “what if the dog attacked them too.” So now, though we moved out to the country to have room for the kids to run around, we were supposed to be afraid to go outside? Unacceptable. I called the neighbors. They said they were thinking about giving the dog away. I could hear the dog barking in stereo—through the phone and from my window, where I could see him loose outside.

The next day, I called the sheriff’s office to ask their opinion. I had three options: to ask for a citation to be issued (which came with a fine), take them to court to ask for the dog to be removed, or simply file a report and not ask for further action. I chose this last option as it was the least confrontational, but because the dog had attacked my daughter they had to notify the neighbors to see that that the dog had current rabies shots. This seemed reasonable to me.

We saw the neighbors in a store this weekend and they did not speak to us. For a while, I felt guilty, because that’s what we were raised as Catholics to do. Maybe I shouldn’t have reported the incident. Now they hate us and it’s my fault. Then I remembered that all week I’ve been afraid to walk down my own street past their house, and how happy my kids are when the dog is not barking his scary bark, and I don’t feel that bad. 

  • This...is insane! I'm so glad your daughter and your dog are okay. That is really scary. I live in the country and people think it's okay to let your dogs roam. I hate that, I just hate it. Not only can others potentially be hurt (them or their property) but what about the animal? This has prompted me to write about my own experience. I wonder what will happen next. Just be careful!!! And know that you did the right thing!!!!

    Responses to this comment
  • Fuck the neighbors!!! All they had to do was put up a proper fence and all would be good. A dog that stops fighting with another dog and turns on a kid is screwed in the head and needs to be confined to a safe area or put down.

    Responses to this comment
  • Fuck dogs, though, honestly. Or dumbass owners. That dog can't be held accountable for attacking or scaring a kid, but it's probably being beaten and malnourished by the freaks next door. They probably beat him silly like a wet cat. Sorry - I'm allergic so I never had any fondness for dogs.

    Responses to this comment
  • You were absolutely right to file the police report. If the problem rights itself, great, no worries. If this becomes an ongoing problem, because they are neighbors from hell, you have documented and police will be more responsive. The problem with bad dogs, as I discovered as a reporter covering a council's attempt to ban pit bulls, is that their owners tend to be worse than the dogs. I'm Catholic too and believe in forgiveness, etc, but don't screw with my family or I get really un-Catholic. It is what it is.

    Responses to this comment
  • Im Dave and I am Mary's neighbor I am writing because I find it laughable how she can twist and distort the truth. First when she came to my house my first question was how is your daughter? Is she hurt? At which time your husband said he checked everyone over and there was NO BLOOD! when did the bloody jacket and dog happen? We never blamed your daughter you said maybe she came into our yard after I told you that we have an electric fence and that she has never run it or done anything like this before. As for us having discussed getting rid of our dog that never happened until a few nights ago when we met you. We love our St Bernard and only briefly entertained the thought after our meeting. I'm sorry you feel the need to air your private life here but atleast tell the truth. Thanks

  • I find it hard to read your stuff as being a catholic and raising 4 kids. It so happens I know the dog well since a pup and when he come to someone its only for love and to play. You need to find a better life other than writing bull shit.

  • Since you have basically come to my work (where I write about my life for a living) and called me a liar, I want to point out that in the article I make it clear I returned to your house a second time with my daughter (who was still wearing the coat- your wife saw it.) You were not there for that conversation, so all of things you are disputing "happened" without you present. I am sorry this piece has made you angry, but I am not a liar and my children deserve not to be afraid in their own yard. You would think so as well if this had happened to one of your children.

    Responses to this comment
  • You know nothing about us, but we can read all about you. I don't know how you can walk about with your head up and be proud of all the things you have written! I feel sorry for your kids. They don't deserve to be drug into your work! They are kids!!! That to me speaks volume about the type of person you are! As for the truth, the dog is staying!!!

    Responses to this comment
  • The only thing I need to know about you (and you guys are the ones who brought your identity public and started making personal attacks, not me) is that you're keeping your dog on your own property and away from my kids.

    Responses to this comment
  • Questions for Neighbor: Did your dog attack Mary's dog? Did your dog attack her child? I ask because both you and your wife have not contested that part of the story and the truth about that seems more germane. Note I'm asking, not assuming.

    Responses to this comment
  • The name calling and finger pointing might work on the Springer show, but I prefer to stick to the pertinent facts, none of which were embellished or misstated in Mary’s article. Let’s review those facts. Your dog attacked my daughter and her dog. Your dog injured my daughter’s hand. It was a minor injury, but to clear another fact, the cuff of her coat was blood stained. I want to point out that after such a traumatic event, my daughter demonstrated incredible courage in returning to talk with you and provide her account of what happened. I’m proud of the way she handled it. Your dog attacked my daughter, and you start pointing fingers at us. Is that something to be proud of?

    Responses to this comment
  • It's not the dogs fault, it's the irresponsible owner's fault. The only mistake Mary made was not choosing the 2nd of her 3 options. Take your dumb asses to court.

    Responses to this comment
  • Mary has a following and thousands of fans and has 4 wonderful children. You have no right to tell someone else what livelihood to choose. Your user name should be fakeassbitch.

    Responses to this comment
  • I've been reading all about Mary on and off for years. She's always seemed pretty damn blunt and honest to me. She's a mom. She rolls the way real moms do. I think her choosing to just file a report was going too easy on you.

    Responses to this comment

Register or Login to leave a comment