My son "is a victim of a vicious animal, poor judgment and political correctness. As a parent of a dog bite victim, I am left feeling helpless."
A photo showing her son's facial injuries after multiple layers of sutures were placed.
DogsBite.org - A mother shares her story after her son was bitten in the face by a recently adopted "rescue" dog during a visitation with his father. Over the last decade, many mothers have shared similar accounts with our nonprofit, but only privately, as these cases involve difficult legal issues. We deeply thank this mother for sharing her son's powerful and heartbreaking story with our readers. It is a story of the legal injustices that are designed to "protect everyone but the victims."
My son was visiting his Father's home in February 2015. His Father had recently replaced his long loved black lab that had passed away with a "rescue" from a no-kill shelter not-for-profit organization. The new dog, I will refer as "M," was described to me as a "lab-mix, mostly lab." Although the male dog did appear to have some features of the lab, the obvious "pit or bully type" characteristics were apparent to me on the single time I observed "M." I was never given any confirmation of "M's" breed other than a Lab-Mix. My son was 10 years old at the time."A towel was covering my son's mouth. I will never forget the smell of that towel. Dog breath saturated that towel as well as my son's face."
It was a Sunday afternoon when my son's Father phoned me. He stated that our son had been bitten by "M." When I asked how serious the bite was, he answered, "I mean, he's gonna need some stitches." Fearing the worst, but praying for the best, we met at the Hospital where my son's Father had transported him. I arrived while my son was in the triage department with his Father and a nurse. A towel was covering my son's mouth. I will never forget the smell of that towel. Dog breath saturated that towel as well as my son's face. I embraced my son and then removed the towel. To my horror, his lip was torn partially from his face. The entire section of lip was severed. He had a puncture wound on his cheek, and abrasions from "M's" mouth and teeth scraping my son's face as he bit down. The inside of my son's mouth had tears and ripped gums.
My beautiful child, his cherubic cheeks and baby doll lips, were now mangled and would never be the same. My heart sunk, the terror in my child's eyes overshadowed the heartbreak I was feeling. I asked what happened, but his Father answered swiftly that my son was keeping food away from "M" and that is how this happened. The typical answer of a vicious dog owner, blame the victim at all costs.
Together, we waited for the Doctor to return to my son, who was then sedated and sutured with multiple layers. During this tense wait, I controlled my tears, and questioned his Father as to his intentions now that his newly adopted vicious dog had attacked our child. Mere centimeters could have been the difference in life or death. His Father would not make any decision at that time. The next few weeks were difficult in our home. My son's physical and emotional pain endured for quite some time. Insecurity for his appearance slowly crept in. Although his scar healed beautifully, his face and lip have permanent nerve damage.
Ultimately, his Father refused to even consider rehoming "M." He took a stance claiming that our son somehow must have done something to deserve his injury. My son's Father had a "professional behavior specialist" deem "M" to be harmless and not food aggressive. I refused our son to be near this vicious animal. Despite difficult threats made in my direction, I chose to allow my child to visit ONLY if "M" was locked away and in no way able to have physical contact with my son. This was the arrangement I made with his Father."An attorney advised me that if I denied my son's Father's visitation, I could be held in contempt of court."
The sound of a dog barking, any dog, the sight of a dog on television caused panic in my son and inconsolable fear. The health department, who is responsible for filing these types of reports, did not after my son's bite. The animal control department in our county, who is responsible for the quarantine of an animal after an attack such as this, did not after my son's bite. An attorney advised me that if I denied my son's Father's visitation, I could be held in contempt of court.
This is when I began researching dog bites. I was inundated with information that opened my eyes to the epidemic of serious, fatal or near fatal dog bites in this country. I found Dogsbite.org and felt this was an organization that left no room for confusion or misleading propaganda when discussing dog bites. The fact that "M" is still in the home of my child's Father today is shocking. I learned later too, that despite the arrangement his Father promised, my child was burdened with the task of feeding and watering this vicious animal just a short time after he was attacked.
When my son's Father sued for lower child support a year later, my attorney felt this was an opportunity to force him to answer to his poor judgment regarding my son's bite, and the choice to further put our child at risk thereafter. We countersued and claimed that he should be held in contempt of court for negligence. A day of reckoning for my child's unnecessary trauma and continued forced contact with this animal would finally arrive.
A county court Judge would be shocked at my son's Father's conduct and negligence, right? This would be some measure of redemption for my son and I.
The trial came, and to my surprise, the Judge barely let me begin testimony regarding the bite incident -- he refused to listen to any part of it. He stopped me by asking, "And has there been, to your knowledge, any injury from a dog since then?"
"No," I answered.
"All right," the judge said. "Then, let's move on."
As fast as I could blink, it was over. So if a county judge, an appointed official doesn't see this situation as serious, and a Father doesn't see any need for concern, maybe I am overreacting right? Wrong. My poor child has been disfigured for life, was forced to have contact with the vicious dog that harmed him, and left to feel that no protection is warranted for him. Dogsbite.org is a wholly informational, up to date and factual website for anyone searching for accurate statistics, grieving a dog bite, or is curious as to what this legislative hype is all about."The trial came, and to my surprise, the Judge barely let me begin testimony regarding the bite incident … As fast as I could blink, it was over."
Although my son has recovered beautifully, and certainly more severe bites overwhelm this website, he is an absolute victim. He is a victim of a vicious animal, poor judgment and political correctness. As a parent of a dog bite victim, I am left feeling helpless. We as a family are in full support of your website and all of the positive it brings to the public at large. Keep up the good work.
This is our story. Please share this story. Post it to your site; post it wherever you can to inform those who need support or a better understanding of the impact of a vicious dog bite. I have tossed the idea of sharing our story for quite some time. I have chosen to share it with Dogsbite.org because I feel even a story with a less than tragic ending is one that many can relate to, when the fatal mauling cases are sometimes too difficult to comprehend. Thank you for your continuing crusade to protect against the many senseless dog maulings, deaths and legal injustices designed to protect everyone but the victims.-Alabama Mother
03/31/17: Newly Adopted Pit Bull-Mix Attacks Little Boy's Face Within Hours of Adoption...
03/18/16: Thank You Letter: Experienced Dog Trainer Shares Attack Story & Professional Opinion
God that is infuriating. The dog should have been confiscated and put down that day. If not then the Ahole who owned it should have had visitation immediately stopped. I’d have strangled that judge.
Have you considered contacting Ken Phillips the famous dog bite attorney about your situation. You might at least visit his website and see whether you think he could help. I believe he can practice in all states or has team members that can.
Shame on the father and the judge!
This is disturbing in so many levels! Your poor son!
Poor kid. Unfortunately, I can believe her description of the judge’s instant, impatient rejection of the dog attack as important. It’s the same attitude I encountered when trying to get something done about a very violent pit bull. In a police and legal system filled with violent humans, authorities seem to find it insulting to be asked to consider a dog a threat to life. It’s a tribute to how safe dogs have always been that this is the typical attitude, but it’s a huge problem when you’re trying to get something done about these outlier dogs. And it’s a gift to those who are buying and selling dogs either without regard to safety (rescue) or with the actual goal of creating dangerous dogs (breeders).
I can also believe you get a lot of these stories. I was just looking at Yelp reviews for a local shelter where I’ve had repeated dreadful experiences, and saw a scathing review from a family who adopted a dog that bit their son in the face while still in the car driving home. The shelter blamed the family, renamed the dog and made it available for adoption once more.
The judge has a learning curve. He knows nothing about dog bites or the situation that has been spiraling out of control lately with Pit Bulls. I would truly like to send him information.
Wow. This is a powerful story. Made even more so by the lack of dramatics. The story is just told and stands on its own as a factual, yet moving account of the disconnect that occurs in this country when a pet dog turns vicious.
When I was a child I pulled a dog’s tail and it turned around and bit my hand. To this day I have a 1/2 inch scar to remind me to treat animals with respect. That is the type of incident that the father of this boy is trying to say occurred. Not the vicious attack on the child’s face that required an emergency room visit and sutures. This “retelling” of the story by the father, the defense of the dog and blaming of the victim (who is further victimized by having to care for the attacking dog) is something we see all too often. It is a form of psychopathy that puts us all at risk. The people displaying signs of this can’t be argued out of it. I’ve stopped trying.
Unfortunately, the statute of limitations for suing the so-called rescue group has passed. In most states, you only have two years before the clock runs out.
However, if you find yourself in the same situation, don’t hesitate to lawyer up and sue the “no-kill shelter not-for-profit organization” into the ground. A few big judgments will bring this misguided movement to a halt.
I agree and hope those who read your your comment will share. Also name names, I’m sure public awareness of public officials who fail to do their duty will have as much effect for us as it has for theirs. By theirs I’m referring to the cult following who are willing to sacrifice children to their obsession
Linda, this is already starting to happen. Here’s a recent news story from Pima County, Arizona:
PS: I know a Tucson personal injury attorney who won a $500k judgment in a pit bull-caused facial injury case. Dog belonged to the neighbors of the three-year-old victim, and those neighbors were pit bull breeders.
I’m so sorry you and your son have had to go through this horrific event…especially your beautiful son. I wish you had Judge Judy on this one. The pit nutters hate her. To know that your son is being put in danger still is beyond comprehension. I hope to God the father will come to his senses before any more damage is done.
Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry this happened to your son and especially that he must continue to be in contact with that dog. It’s hard to fathom the mental process of a father that would allow such a dog not only to continue to live with him after doing this to his own child but who also forces his son to care for the dog. Does he really care more for that dog than for his own boy? What a heartbreaking situation.
My daughter was bitten on the face when she was 6 years old by my sister’s Cocker Spaniel. It was (like your son’s) a completely unprovoked attack. I was there and saw it happen, as did my sister and her husband. Thankfully my daughter’s face was not extensively damaged but she does bear scars and the frightening memory of that sudden attack. My sister kept the dog… even though she has young granddaughters who spend time at her home. And although she saw the unprovoked attack, she has created a fabrication in her mind that my daughter “startled” the dog. I suppose it’s the only way she can justify keeping him. We rarely visit there and when we do the dogs are locked outside in a pen during the visit. I CAN’T IMAGINE how it would feel if my child was forced to see and interact with the dog that bit her. My heart goes out to you and your son that this is the case he must endure.
Shame on that father and shame on the judge.
“Rage syndrome” is known to strike some Cocker Spaniels. The difference between the spaniel breeders and pit breeders is that the spaniel breeders realized this was happening and immediately began tracing bloodlines and recommending restricted or no breeding for affected dogs (I seem to recall it affected black spaniels the most? There was one color that had a much higher change of being affected)…whereas the pit breeders went, “Don’t know what you’re talking about, la la la!” and kept doing exactly what they were doing before.
Anyway. “Rage syndrome” in spaniels is exactly like typical pit behavior: NO trigger, NO warning. Luckily spaniels aren’t bred and built to do devastating damage, but as you sadly learned, they can certainly do some.
Truly shocking because those of us here know they ALWAYS “somehow get out”. Dogs Bite.org refers to pit bulls as a “zero margin of error”. Complete truth.
My heart goes out to this mother and to her son to have this ticking time bomb.
They always blame the victims:
“Dog came on and started to attack some of the kids, and of course kids began to scream and panic, which excites the dog and scared the dog even more,” said Capt. David Macy with the Oklahoma City Fire Department. “His natural instinct was to keep biting and go after the kids.”
Unbelievable. And he’s a fire department captain?
Disgusting. I can understand the dad initially adopting the animal, being lied to by the animal shelter that it was “mostly lab.” But what kind of father would keep the animal after it so savagely bit his son? And even if the father thought he would keep the animal because he believed it was safe with adults, what kind of father would not keep the animal locked up when his son was visiting? And he actually made the son feed and water the animal???? Sounds like the father is as much a monster as the animal he apparently loves more than his own flesh and blood. Parents are supposed to protect their children, and this father has completely failed. Not because of his initial mistake in adopting the animal, but because of his refusal to keep his son safe after he knew exactly how dangerous the animal was.
Where in the Sam Hill is child protective services? Methinks that they might be more than a little interested in how this child is being treated by his father.
I am sorry that your son had to go though that. I am also sorry that the system let you and him down because of the ignorance surrounding these dogs.
Speaking of ignorance, here is an example.
While not directly related to pit bulls, note the question that isn’t being asked. What was this lady doing with 15 dogs when it was obvious that she couldn’t afford to shelter them or herself?
There are times when dog worship boggles me.
Did we really get through Thanksgiving without a pit chowing down on anyone?
If so I am very thankful indeed!
Nope, a woman was mauled by pit bulls early Friday morning in Talbot County, Georgia. She was rescued by hunters who found her and her dog being attacked in the woods. Her husky died on Saturday, and she remains in the hospital in Columbus, Ga with horrific injuries. The news article does not reveal her name.
I think the world has gone mad.
There’s no reason here that someone should keep a dog in their household after it’s bitten their child. You know what this says to the child? “My dog is more important than *your safety*”. Madness. No wonder you’re wigged out by your ex. Keeping that dog around a child is insanity.
I’ve raised dogs. I’ve trained dogs. I’ve worked and trained dogs for protection work. I’ve had well-trained dogs save my life on the job.
I love dogs.
However, the rights of a dog don’t trump the rights of humans. Ever.
A dog not trained to work in Protection should never, ever, be allowed to show signs of aggression towards humans *for any reason*. This cannot be said, enough.
Most dogs will try in their teenage time. It should be stopped, immediately and not by waving a cookie at it.
The reason we’re seeing all these dog bites is obvious.
We’ve gone crazy.
When I was a child, dog bites were exceedingly rare. Why? Because the dog was shot or put somewhere immediately that it couldn’t do any damage to children.
Do these people NOT realize that they could be sued out of everything they will ever own, once the dog bites the first time?
Nowadays, I see people all over terrified of dogs because they’ve been bitten. That didn’t used to be the case.
Dogs are dogs. When they’re not treated like dogs it doesn’t work out for anybody. Dogs don’t know how to live in human society until we teach them. And even then, some are genetically incapable of controlling their instincts.
A child, waving some food around in a dog’s face may result in a nipped hand as the child moves the food and the dog attempts to grab it. That would be an accident and a teachable moment. Biting the child in the face? Aggression, pure and simple.
It’s not “reactivity” it’s dangerous dog behaviour.
If your friend punched your child in the face and broke his nose then you refused to kick your friend out of the house when your child visited *and* forced the child to serve them tea–a judge would call that abuse. Plain and simple.
Dog Nutters. They’re everywhere.
This story is shocking on so many levels. What kind of a man cares about dogs more than his own son, his flesh and blood? What kind of judge thinks it’s ok to force the child to be around vicious dog that has seriously hurt him? There was “only” one attack, so “let’s move on”. If Johny busted Tommy’s lip and sent Tommy to hospital, Johny would be held responsible, without waiting to see if he hurts Tommy again. Vicious dogs, on the other hand, have a free pass to hurt people. Do we value dogs more than people in this society?
Absolutely infuriating… I would have organised a ‘hit’ on “M”…F that dog, I hope your young child is recovering well, sorry I am 2 years late to comment ‘Alabama Mother’ I pray your young son is getting better (he must be 13 by now) 😞 I send you love, from Australia xx