Dogs and Dog Ownership
I have to interject here and say that while I like dogs, I've also been attacked by a dog, and learned significant caution. Our neighbors, when I was a teenager, had a German Shepherd named Heinrich, who knew me, knew my brother, who came over to our house to hang out with my dog--and who, on one memorable occasion when I had gone next door to return some sugar I'd borrowed, went for my throat. Literally. On his hind legs, Heinrich was as tall as I am, and if I hadn't had the presence of mind to shove my elbow into his mouth so that he couldn't bite me elsewhere, I think I would be dead now. I finally got away and outran him (amazing what panic can do) and got sewn up--and for years afterward, whenever I had to walk past that house (which was every day, since I had to get to the school bus down the street) I called to make sure that Heinrich was tied up. Twice he broke his chain and came after me. And all the while our neighbors, who were very nice people in most ways, said that they couldn't understand what was happening with the dog, he was perfectly fine with them. It was six years before they finally decided that he was incorrigible--I was not his only victim--and Heinrich was sent to his maker.
This likely has a little to do with why I'm glad that the San Francisco D.A. had Maureen Faibush arrested on charges of child endangerment. But only a little.
If you're not from around these parts, you might not have heard (lucky you!). Three weeks ago, 12-year-old Nicholas Faibush was mauled to death by his family's pit bulls. He was alone in the house at the time. As a parent, the thought of what my child's last thoughts might have been would be crushing to me. Mrs. Faibush stated that her two pit bulls (one male, one female) were sweet dogs who had never shown any sign of aggression, and she couldn't understand how such a thing could have happened, which seemed a little off to me--if a dog killed my child, I would not be so understanding. And then...a few days later, she told the San Francisco Chronicle that she had left her son in the basement--the family room--with food, TV, a Game Boy, and a shovel up against the handle of the door, to keep him separated from the pit bulls. Somehow the boy had gotten out of the room, gone up stairs, and was attacked by the dogs. She said something to the effect that "I told him to stay in the basement, but he didn't listen. Typical Nicky."
Apparently Faibush let the dogs have the run of the house despite a sense that the male was acting up a little because the female was in heat. And perhaps, if Nicholas had stayed in the basement as ordered he might still be alive. But it just seems to me that you don't isolate your son in deference to your dogs; that you don't leave your child alone with two dogs who are in a touchy frame of mind. If the kid wants to stay home, you lock the dogs up somewhere. If you can't lock the dogs up, take the child with you--and to hell with whether he doesn't want to go. No, it's likely that Faibush didn't foresee the possibility that her son would be killed by her dogs. But if she felt there was enough hazard to warrant locking him into the family room by dint of a shovel against the door knob, she clearly realized there was a danger. Maybe she thought a bite would be acceptable--that it would teach him to listen (typical Nicky). Or just being scared a little. At the very least, her judgment was appalling, and as often happens, someone else paid for it.