I will say it one more time: Small children should not be allowed inside dog parks, not even if they are accompanied by an adult. Even the nicest, best-trained dog can be unpredictable around strangers (especially small children) and especially when put in a pack setting with other dogs.
A horrible incident in Cleveland Park on Sunday evening illustrates the dangers of small children and dogs. No, the comparison is not perfect: the attack involved an adult on a city street. But, what happened Sunday serves as a reminder on why small children running around in the middle of a pack of dogs is a very bad and dangerous idea. Dogs can be unpredictable around people they don’t know, especially small children. Plus, when are dogs are running and playing together, they are part of a dog pack. As much as we love our dogs, they are animals: not some alternative form of children.
True, the dog involved in the Sunday attack was a pit bull, but almost any breed of dog is capable of harming a small children under the right (or wrong) circumstances. We have a dog that is a cross between two types of herding dogs. Her inclination is to bring order to situations, which can mean chasing and herding. She is sweet and likes kids, but she could also accidentally and easily knock a small child to the ground.
I still believe that DC should adopt the Fairfax County dog park rules: no children under age 8 are allowed in the off-leash area.
Following is the MPD’s news release, which they sent out yesterday.
POLICE INVOLVED SHOOTING FOLLOWING A VICIOUS DOG ATTACK
(Washington, DC) – The Metropolitan Police Department is currently investigating a police involved shooting of a dog that occurred in the 3400 block of Quebec Street, NW. On Sunday, December 6, 2009 at approximately 5:30 pm, members of the Second District responded to the 3400 block of Quebec Street, NW, in reference to a call for a victim who had been bitten by a dog.
Prior to police arriving, a concerned witness heard the victim screaming for help. He managed to pull the dog, a male pit bull, off the victim, subdued the dog and placed the animal in a cage. In addition to police, personnel from DC Animal Control and DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene. The victim, an adult female, was admitted to a local hospital and is currently in stable condition.
During the investigation of the incident, the dog reportedly became aggressive and got out of the cage. Animal Control employees made several unsuccessful attempts to secure the dog. The dog then charged towards one of the responding officers. Fearing imminent danger for his safety and the safety of others, the officer fired his service weapon, striking and injuring the dog.
Animal Control officers were then able to secure the dog, which has subsequently been euthanized. The member who fired his weapon is a 39-year-old sergeant who has been with the department for 12 years.
“This is a tragic incident,” said Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier. “I commend the man, who put his own life in danger and stepped in to assist the victim in this violent dog attack. I also want to recognize the sergeant who stopped the dog from attacking anyone else.”