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6 Bumps

If a Dog Bit Your Child, Would You Have Him Put Down?

My brother-in-law's father has a chow mix named Jack and this dog is always snapping at the kids, which is why they keep him locked up when we're over there. Well, we were invited over there on Wednesday for a BBQ and I brought along my collie, Maggie. Somehow, Jack got out of the pen and bit my sister's five year old when he tried to pet him. (He didn't know the dog would bite, having never actually met this dog) Luckily, Maggie was able to get to him because there wasn't a nearby adult that could get to him in time and she tore open the side of his face when she pulled him off of the child. My brother-in-law's father took the dog to the vet today and we assumed he was going to have him put down but, when my sister and her husband went over to comfort him tonight, she found the dog in the living room with stitches in the side of his face. Now, he's pissed at me because I brought an aggressive dog to his house and wants me to pay the vet bill and says that we should have been watching my nephew better and teach him not to go up to strange dogs. He's blaming the incident on us.

I understand that he loves his dog but I wouldn't have a dog that I couldn't trust around children and I certainly wouldn't have one that bit a child. I grew up in a very dog friendly household but biting a child was an automatic death sentence. He says he'll be more careful next time but how can he trust him. That's an eighty pound dog and, though the bite wasn't serious this time, largely thanks to Maggie, he did need a few stitches. After much arguing, he's now saying that my brother-in-law let the dog out on purpose to get Jack in trouble. I told him he would have to take me to court if he wanted me to pay the vet bills. He claims he was told by a lawyer that a judge will stick to the facts, that my dog attacked his dog, and that the fact that she was provoked didn't matter. He's full of shit.

I would understand if a dog bit an adult when he was provoked, like if someone was breaking into your house or trying to hurt their owner but there was no excuse for him to attack a five year old without provacation. Maybe I'm being a little overly harsh because it's my nephew and he's blaming my dog but what do you think? If your dog bit a child, would you put him down?

Answer Question

Asked by Razzle_Dazzle1 at 4:51 AM on Apr. 8, 2011 in Pets

Level 18 (5,775 Credits)
Answers (30)
  • I think he has a point to a certain degree. Maybe you should have been watching the closer. And at 5 the child should have been taught already how to approach a dog they are not familiar with or to just stay away in general. But IMO that does not mean that you should have to pay his vet bills. I think if you can't trust this person then don't go to their house anymore. And if you knew an aggressive dog would be there locked up or not I would think it would be the wiser choice to not even bring another dog into the mix. Its like playing with fire. And someone got burned this time. Things are heated right now, Give it some time to cool down and see what happens. Maybe contact a lawyer yourself and see if he has a leg to stand on.

    Answer by myownhappiness at 4:56 AM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • Well I cant speak for everyone but I feel that the incident was 100% his fault for not ensuring that the dog was adequitly caged if the dog has a tendency of snapping at people. Our dog is a 100 lb bull dog and stays in the house with us, but if we are having company or someone shows up unexpectedely we put him in his cage and close two doors between him and our visitors. He has never bit anyone or even snapped at anyone but why take the chance?

    Answer by BAMAROSE132322 at 4:56 AM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • I had to deal with this with our own dog.  We had a small dog who was SO very sweet.  He slept with me and loved to cuddle.  But he just didn't like kids.  After he snapped (not bit) at my 3 year old I gave him away to someone who didn't have children.  I don't think he deserved to die just because he didn't get a long with children but I do think that had I kept him, it would have made me irresponsible and risking something even worse happening.  Did your brother in law in fact let him out?  In that case, I would say it's his fault.  You don't let other peoples animals out especially ones you don't know.  And I would refrain from taking my dog to someone elses house just to avoid this kind of bs.  Some dogs don't like kids, he should have been restrained the entire time. 


    Answer by MrsHouston47302 at 4:57 AM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • Having to pay the vet bills?  I'm split on that one.  You took your dog onto that dogs property.  Regardless of the dog biting the child, your dog bit and caused damage to him that had to be paid for.  This is the kind of BS I mean't when I said to refrain from taking your dog to someone elses house.  I'm not sure legally what you would be required to do, if anything.  I'm sure with his dog biting the child, he doesn't REALLY want to go to court. 


    Answer by MrsHouston47302 at 5:01 AM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • I did the same thing as Houston. I had an old chihuahua and I loved her so much, but she started to bite and bit the kids. It wasn't hard it was an "Im angry and will draw blood next time, now leave me alone" kind of bite. But I didn't want to take chances with my kids safety so I found her a new home with an older couple.

    Answer by myownhappiness at 5:01 AM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • I think there is some shared blame here. You brought a strange dog into this dogs territory. That is, at best, very poor judgement.

    Not watching a 5 year old closely where the bitey dog was nearby, even if you thought he was restrained. ?? Hmmm.

    His dog bit your kid. That is his fault.

    Your dog attacked his dog. Well, to be fair, your dog was protecting the child, and I think a court may side with you there, but there is definitely some fault on both sides, don't you think?

    Answer by judimary at 5:12 AM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • It sounds more like Maggie was defending the child, then Maggie just out of the blue decided to attack Jack. As far as Jack's owner claiming to sue u for vet bills, let him sue. When the judge finds out the reason why Maggie attack Jack was because she was defending the child cause Jack bit the child.
    In MI when a dog bites someone, and then it is found out the dog has a history of biting, the dog is taken and put down buy the county.

    Answer by Michigan-Mom74 at 5:21 AM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • If my dog bit my child I would kill the dog myself without blinking an eye.

    Answer by Michigan-Mom74 at 5:23 AM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • He was the one that asked me to bring Maggie. When my sister said something to him about my collie he asked if I would bring her because he wanted to see her. He said he had a collie when he was a child. It's not like it was a little warning snap from a small dog. he drew blood and the child had to have stitches. We were watching the the children. We were on the porch and the kids were in the yard and Maggie was running around with them. And my brother-in-law certainly did not let that dog out. He's been telling his dad that that dog needed to go for a long time. He does have a history of biting. He bit my brother-in-law once when they were out of town and my brother went over there to feed him. The dog was locked up in the garage but we think that the door didn't get closed good when my brother-in-law's mother went in the get the charcoal starter. She doesn't think she left it open but she doesn't remember pulling it closed.

    Comment by Razzle_Dazzle1 (original poster) at 5:36 AM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • I think there is shared blame... A child should NOT be left alone with a dog that is known for being aggressive. The man has a point there. It's a poor choice right there to leave young children unsupervised where the dog was. At the same time, YOUR dog should not get in trouble for protecting a child. I mean, it's no different than if a person stepped in and the dog got hurt. Maybe the man should have kept a better eye on his dog and it wouldn't have gotten attacked by your dog protecting a child.

    Answer by laird6372 at 5:39 AM on Apr. 8, 2011

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