Dogs and kids - am I being unreasonable?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-03-2005
Dogs and kids - am I being unreasonable?
Thu, 03-01-2012 - 12:40pm
First, I'm not anti-dog.

Here's the background...
My MIL is mostly wonderful. She's very helpful and generous. The big downside to her help is that she doesn't tend to follow rules she thinks are unnecessary or unreasonable. Usually her breaking rules involves sugar. In June 2010, she was babysitting my niece who was turning 6 that week. She left Haley unattended with her dogs while she went to the restroom. There was a thunderstorm going on, so she thinks that might have affected the dogs, but we really don't know what caused the dog to act the way he did. Her unneutered male 85 lb dog bit Haley on the face. She required stitches less than 1/2 inch away from her eye and still has a scar. She was lucky she didn't have damage to her eye. Given the dog's size, we realize that it could have been much worse than it was, however, we were all shocked that she chose to keep the dog.

For a while she was good about keeping both dogs locked up anytime kids were at her house. I was recently shocked to arrive at her house recently to discover the dogs loose with my nieces there. I told DH that we can no longer allow our kids to go over to her house. DH thinks I'm being unreasonable, but I told him that if we let our kids go over there and that dog kills one of my kids, I will shoot both of his parents. I believe that once a dog has bitten someone once, it will do it again. My youngest is 1, imagine what the 85 lb do could do to him.

We had told MIL that the dog was never to be around our kids again and I just don't trust her to listen to that. Given her history of breaking rules, I'm certainly not willing to bet my child's life on it.

Our state is a "one free bite" state, so the dog is now considered a dangerous dog and there is more of a possibility of criminal charges if the dog bites again as well as civil liability.

Am I being unreasonable to not allow my kids to go to MIL's house as long as she has that dog?

Tiffa, 35

DH, 36

DD born 10/15/08, Baby #2 due 10/18/10


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-04-2011
Thu, 03-01-2012 - 12:56pm

I do not think you are being unreasonable at all. I think your MIL is! No matter how helpful and generous she is, it's not worth your child's life or limb to have her watch them.

My own mother (also a "rule breaker") has a large 80+ lb dog that has bit her before (she has every excuse in the world as to why it happened) and it was a nasty wound. We have told her since that bite

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-26-2009
Fri, 03-02-2012 - 12:10am
I dont think your being unreasonable with her history of breaking rules but (with ALL due respect) it kinda seemed like once the first bite happened you expected her to just throw the dog to the curb. Im not at all down playing what happened but maybe you dont realize how much an animal can mean to someone.. My animals are like family. I cried more saying goodbye to my cat when I moved from home than some of my family. I completely 100% agree that if she is going to keep the dog they should be kept away from the children and if she cant follow those rules I dont blame you for not wanting your kids there. So all in all, i dont think your being unreasonable at all but just remember animals can be very important to people. (with all do respect!!)

pillow.jpg love long distance image by karlifiles


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2011
Wed, 03-14-2012 - 5:22pm
No way and I would take the same stance. It's your job to keep your kids safe, whatever it takes. They come first.