Wednesday, April 23, 2008

in a moment, life can change

After taking my nephew kite flying on Sunday - he has been asking to go again, every day since. So this afternoon, we went to a local park. We set up in one area of the park, near a playground, and while the kids ran off to play on the slide and jungle gym, I unloaded Henry from his stroller and let him crawl around on the ground beneath the shade of a few trees.

The kite flying conditions weren't ideal and eventually several more people descended upon the playground. When I was finding it more and more difficult to keep track of the children, I suggested to my father and sister that we move our group to another area of the park - where there weren't as many people - or trees - and maybe we could have better success getting the kites in the air.

I loaded Henry back in to his stroller, gathered our belongings and summoned for the kids to follow. As we were walking across the playground, out of the corner of my eye, I saw two white dogs come barreling towards us.

Although our kids love dogs, when they saw the dogs today, they were afraid and immediately started crying. I looked to see where the owners were and I could see a woman come chasing after the dogs with a leash. It was clear that the dogs had been walking in an area beneath the park, when they were taken off leash to do their business in the bushes. The dogs had metal spike choke chain collars and the leash that she was holding was comprised of metal links that were at least 2-inches in diameter. She had her iPod earphones in and was trying to convince me that her dogs, that I recognized as pit bulls, were gentle.

The first instinct was to put myself between the dogs and the children, but it was difficult because the dogs were jumping all over my kids.

My sister grabbed Elizabeth. I abandoned Henry in his stroller and grabbed Carolyn. My nephew was standing behind us with my father, who is very unsteady on his feet, and I watched in horror when one of the dogs went after William - who was trying to run away - and knocked him down. I dropped a crying Carolyn, even though there was another dog still on the loose, and ran over to William. The dog had it's paws on his back and it's jaws around his neck. Any fears that I had that the dog would turn on me, immediately vanished when I saw the dog on my son.

I've never kicked anything so hard in my entire life as I kicked the sugar honey iced tea out of that dog, today. REPEATEDLY.

I scooped William up, and ran over to the stroller where one of the dogs was sniffing around Henry's feet and trying to jump up on the foot rest. The woman owner was joined by a man and both were chasing after the dogs, who were now running all over the playground equipment. The owner's absolutely could not get the dogs back under control. I was yelling that they had to get their dogs back on leash - I was yelling JUMP ON THEM - and the owner's were yelling back at me that their dogs HAD been on leash.

Yeah, well ... they're NOT now!!

I don't remember what exactly I said, but there was a lot of profanity. My nephew later pointed out that he was amazed to hear me yell the f-word and he lost count after I screamed it five times. (So much for word substitution.) Shockingly, the owners were defensive. Never once did they apologize. The guy was yelling at me that his dogs had been on leash. He was asking if I wanted a piece of him and throwing his hands up in the air. When he finally got the dogs back on leash and was walking off the playground, he was yelling "What are you gonna do, huh? What are you gonna do?!"

Clearly, it wasn't macho enough that he owns two dogs that are notorious for their aggression that he parades around with spiked collars. He needs to challenge the mother of four young children - who his dogs were chasing after - to a fight. Here's an idiot that cannot control his animals and he takes them to a park where there are small children playing.

MY SMALL CHILDREN.

I cannot remember a time in my life when I've ever been so angry. Seven hours later, I am still shaking at what could have happened. But I am thankful that in the midst of this, I had the sense to call 911 and file a police report. If and when the owners are found, I will press charges.

I'm thankful that moments after this ordeal happened, I was approached by a man that told me he saw the whole thing - heard the guy yelling at me - and said if the guy came after me, he was ready to step in and knock the guy out. Although I really wouldn't have wanted to get in to a fight with the idiot on the playground, my sister and I both agree that very easily, we could have dropped him like a box of Trader Joe's peanut butter cups ... even without the assistance of the good samaritan.

Lesson learned: A mother's adrenalin is a powerful thing.

Then again, so is mace, which I'm considering adding to my diaper bag.

But mostly, I am so incredibly thankful that although William has marks on his neck and face, he is safe. I know what could have easily happened today. This link and this link and this link and this link and this link and this link are all frightening reminders. One minute we are having fun and the next minute we are fending off two pit bulls.

Thank God.

My little boy is safe.

78 comments:

  1. I have never commented on your blog before, but this post hit me hard.

    I was in this same situation when I was about 8 years old. My mother had taken us to a brand new park with me, and my three other siblings (ages 5, 3, and 7 months). As we were playing, a mid-70's lady came to the park with her Great Dane. If you've ever seen a Great Dane, these things are like...8 feet tall when on their hind legs...they are massive. Long story short, when the lady let the dog off the leash, it came after my mom and us. No short of a miracle, my aunt drove past the park at the exact moment when the dog began chasing us and was able to take me and my 5 year old sister to the car, while my mother fought the dog off with the stroller. My 3 year old brother remained at the top of the slide (I don't remember where my baby sister was). And of course, what does the old lady do? She gets into her car, with the door open, and drives around calling the dog...like that is really going to work! Eventually the dog leaves, but my mom was in horror. It took her a long time before she would take us there again. And to make things worse, we repeatedly saw the lady at the park with her dog...off it's leash...until my mom finally called the police.

    We were lucky enough that the dog didn't get ahold of any of us like it did to your dear William, but I am grateful that William was protected and that no serious harm came upon him.

    Sorry that was kind of long, but I had to share that with you =]

    -Andrea in China

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  2. Just wondering if you took photos of the marks the dogs made on your son. It couls come in handy if you need any proof at a later stage.

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  3. OMG! That is absolutely terrifying and I am appalled at the attitude of the owners. How dare he keep saying that the dogs HAD been on a leash like that made it ok when it was quite obvious that they weren't on a leash anymore. Who lets dogs like that off a leash full stop in an area where kids are playing. Thank god that William came away relatively unscathed and that everyone is safe. I couldn't bring myself to look at your links but there have been several cases in the UK over the past few years where kids have been mauled/ killed by pit bulls so I can only imagine what was in the links. Will be giving my little boy a big cuddle when I get home from work tonight because as you say, everything can change in one fleeting moment.

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  4. Oh my! I would seriously be undercover in that park to catch the offenders, should they choose to re-visit. A quick copy of the license plate and a call to the police station would be in order. I hope you got the name of the samaritan?

    I'm glad that everyone is okay. I hope that the kids won't be afraid of dogs now. I think they can sense fear, and that's not a good thing either. Maybe a future teaching on dog relations with a nice, trustworthy dog?

    I always tell my kids not to approach a strange dog and to ask permission from the owner before petting. It seems that you and your kids had no choice-that idiot has poor judgement and no compassion. Or class---for that matter!

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  5. I certainly hope they figure out who those people were so that you can press charges. That guy was just an idiot to say the least. I am sorry you all had to go through something like this. I am very glad everyone is safe!

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  6. Was it an off leash park? If not might be a good idea to get in contact with the council about errant dogs like this.

    Not making excuses for him (the man was CLEARLY in the wrong) but his anger probably stemmed from fear of what could have happened, just as yours did... As a dog owner (though hopefully much more responsible one than him!) I know that I would be out of my mind with terror... Fear makes people do crazy things, as we all know, the old fight or flight response. I guess he chose to fight, even though he was in the wrong. So don't take it personally.

    What a terrible experience, I'm so sorry you and the children had to go through it. How is William now? Has he shown any fear of returning to the park? Thank God he is okay.

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  7. Karen in Buffalo4/23/08, 7:31 AM

    O.M.G.!!!! Your post gave me the shivers and I couldn't read fast enough to make sure everyone was not seriously injured. Great suggestion from someone else to take a photo of William's neck with marks. I hope you're able to safely find these people and press charges. I guarantee the dogs will be off leash again and the results might be much worse.
    Glad you are all okay.
    Enjoy the rest of your time with your family!

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  8. That is so scary and I am so glad everyone is o.k. I'm sure you've already done this considering how many pics you take (!), but get pics of the marks on William. We have neighbors just down the street who had a pit bull mix of some kind and it was NEVER on a leash...the rule was if that dog was outside my boys had to come inside. Thankfully, they just moved and the dog is gone. And about 5 months ago at my parents restaurant (which is connected to a bunch of shops, with a grassy area in the middle) a pit bull came into the grassy area in the middle, caught the resident stray cat and proceeded to tear the cat apart in front of horrified onlookers. When the pit bull was done, the owner calmly put him in the back of his truck and drove off. But, some people got his license plate and called 911 and he was later caught and charged and I do believe the dog was put down. My boys play in that square when we are at the restaurant ALL THE TIME...it could have easily been them instead of that cat. The best description I have ever heard of pit bulls is that "pit bulls are nice...until they're not". Glad everyone is o.k.!!!

    Kelly(Houston)

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  9. I am seething. The fact that man kept making excuses and became defensive at YOU because YOUR child was nearly mauled by HIS dog.
    OH. MY. GOSH.

    Please return to that park with Charlie and try to catch their license plate number.

    Perhaps you could even report this to the local news or newspaper. People need to know this idiot couple is out there.

    I'm so thankful William was not more seriously hurt.

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  10. Michelle M in TX4/23/08, 8:11 AM

    My biggest pet peeve (sorry for the pun) is loose dogs. First of all, it's against the law! Second, your dog may be "friendly," but mine may not and if your dog comes up to mine, there WILL be a fight. Third, many, many people are afraid of dogs. They shouldn't be allowed to be loose where they inevitably come up to those they sense have fear of them. Now don't get me wrong. I'm a massive dog lover, but there's a time and a place for dogs to be loose and that place is called the dog park.

    I'm so sorry for you and got chills and teared up reading your post. Poor William may always be afraid of dogs now! It didn't at all surprise me to read that the owners were defensive. Thing is, they were probably scared too, which explains their reaction. Too bad they weren't big enough people to apologize, but more than likely, they knew they were not allowed to let their dogs off leash and were worried about being held responsible for any injuries.

    Here's the name of a product that is supposed to stop a dog in its tracks...Direct Stop Citronella Spray. Google that. It might be a good option to mace.

    I hope William and all of y'all are doing better.

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  11. Jen, your post today gave me such a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I am SO sorry that this happened and thank God that all of your children - especially William - are all right. I hope they find the bastards that owned those dogs and charge them. My kids are very allergic to dogs and it always used to drive me crazy when people would take their dogs off the leash and let them run towards the kids, all the while insisting that their dog is gentle and won't hurt anyone. Whether their dog was gentle or not, if the animal got in my child's face, I ended up at the hospital with a child that was having a severe allergic reaction.

    I wish people would think of all the consequences before letting animals off of leashes.

    Hope you're okay.

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  12. Posse time. I am not even the mother of the children involved, and I feel like I could kill those dogs with my bare hands, and the beat the crap out of the owners with my extra energy.

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  13. Stupid, stupid people. I can't believe that the dog owners 1) let the dogs off leashes 2) tried to fight with you and 3) insisted that they WERE on leashes. Duh, they were not or there wouldn't have been this problem.

    At least you have plenty of adult witnesses. I hope something is done about this. I'm with the crowd that says document William's marks. I'm so glad you are all safe.

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  14. Oh my goodness!!!! How incredibly scary for you!!! I'm glad you did file a police report! (((((((hugs to you)))))))))))

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  15. Thank God you are all ok! I hope that the owners are found and that something comes of this.

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  16. This is the first time I have commented, but I was in tears after reading your post. I love dogs and I have one that lives with my mom. As much as I know my dog would probably never hurt anyone, I NEVER let her go near children loose, or let her run in a children's park. You never know what could happen. Just the other day, my son (10 months) was walking towards her and she was feeling cornered, and snapped at him. I am so glad that you are ok, physically anyways. I hope your children don't grow afraid of dogs from now on... they really are wonderful when well trained.

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  17. Oh my goodness!!! "Lesson learned: A mother's adrenalin is a powerful thing." Good job Jen for NOT KILLING THE MAN! I have no doubt you could have taken that big loser out by yourself. Thanks for the morning adrenalin rush 1800miles away

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  18. Oh my gosh! I'm so glad that William is safe! I don't understand why people allow their dogs to roam free when they aren't in a dog park. I'm sure those dogs needed the exercise, but a public park is not the place for it. Good for you for coming to your children's rescue, as well as for calling the police!

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  19. Oh my word Jen. Oh my word.


    We lived a summer in Phoenix, right before I went away to college. My mother and I went out one night to walk our corgi and new puppy. We got around the corner and a man and woman were standing on the opposite side of the street with two rottweilers, off their leashes. The couple had the leashes in their hands and were using us as a training exercise. They kept the dogs beside them and kept telling them to stay.

    I was terrified. I asked them to put the dogs on the leashes and ask I finished my request, the dog by the woman bolted from her and started running at us.

    The woman screamed (I honestly don't remember if we did as well) and then the bigger dog, next to the man took off towards us as well. My mother started yelling, I was pushed by the big dog back into a giant cactus and the other dog grabbed our puppy. I was yelling for the couple to get their F-ing dogs - just over and over again. The couple began yelling at me, defensively. My brother, from the house, could hear all of the screaming and came running out of the house with a baseball bat. The owners saw him and finally wrestled our pup away and got the dogs under control.

    They DID NOT APOLOGIZE. They walked up the street yelling obscenities at us, including threats to sue if my brother touched their dogs with the bat. It took an hour to pull the long cactus needles from my back and bum.

    I didn't have children with me at the time. People do not understand why I don't want their dogs nosing into my son's stroller, they don't understand why I step out of my house to tell them to put their dogs on leashes. They don't understand why I tell my kids not to pet dogs that we don't know.

    Oh my word. I'm physically sick after reading this story. I'm so sorry this happened to you guys.

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  20. Oh Jen, how terrifying! I hope that William isn't terrified of dogs now. This drives me crazy. We had a story here in Denver where a friend of ours' neighbors' dog (a German Shepherd, so it's not just Pit Bulls) got out and tried to attack a child. An 18 month old child. The mother wrapped herself around the baby and took the force of the attack, permanent damage in her back. So what happens? The dog is ordered destroyed, but the media turns it all around with biased bullshit like this:
    http://www.9news.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=78600
    A dozen neighbors go to court to testify that they are afraid of the dog, etc., and that he should be destroyed. The judge overturns the initial ruling and sends the dog HOME. I cannot believe it. The dog has attacked a child (the owner claimed that the child was asking for it somehow), but is sent home. I can only imagine that the city will be sued the NEXT TIME this dog attacks someone, because I'm sure it WILL happen AGAIN!
    Thank God your kids are okay. After the story near us I really started to wonder...how COULD I protect three children? Who would I grab? Shudder.
    You go.

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  21. I am so glad to hear all the kids are okay. I do have a suggestion though, take pictures of any scratches on William. Just in case you need to prove it in the future.

    That thing about a mom being able to lift a car off her baby is so true.

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  22. Have you stopped shaking yet? Just reading your post brought me to tears. I can't look at your links because I'm sure it'll upset me too much. This past winter in Minneapolis, we had a little boy who was killed by the family's pit bull. They consider charging the father since the animal had a history of aggression, but ended up dropping the charges at the last minute. I wish they hadn't.

    I can imagine what it must have been like for you and it scares the crap out of me. We are going for a walk in a few minutes and you can bet I won't relax the entire time! I really hope they catch those stupid people! How are the kids holding up?

    Jennifer
    Triplet Mom in MN

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  23. Holy Sugar Honey Iced Tea Jen! How f#%@ing scary. This kind of thing isn't uncommon either. We used to take our dog everywhere with us when the kids were little. Too many people let their dogs off leashes and some of those dogs would come charging over to us. It just kept going back to my (and your) fear of how do I protect multiple children. Soooo glad everyone is ok.
    As far as the spiky collars, leash, etc., I'm thinking, tiny penis!

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  24. My stomach is in knots! I cannot believe that. I have heard of the stories, but I don't think I have ever seen pictures or read in depth about it all. I cannot believe they did not apologize and that the stupid idiot was trying to start a fight with YOU! Oh my goodness...I am just in shock about this. What the heck?! I am so sorry....but I am so thankful that everyone is okay (relatively anyway)...wow. Please Lord, help them find the man so that charges can be pressed.

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  25. Hi, Im Kimberly from Texas. I have never posted on your blog before, but really enjoy it. As a fellow infertility fighter you bring me a lot of hope.

    Im so glad William is okay. I would say that is unbelievable the way the owners acted..but I actually witnessed that myself two weeks ago at our city dog park. After letting his boxer attack my dogs, I yelled Help, help! Get control of your dogs!! He said F*** you, get out of the park..I was appalled!

    As I was trying to seperate the aggressive dog from my babies, he told me "Touch my dog and see what happens"...After threatening me there was only one thing I could do....I said F*** you, you get control of your dogs!!! Be an adult! Take responsibliltiy!!

    After calling the police and them not doing anything about it...im sure the man will again let his dogs terrorize others. Even people.

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  26. You just never know with dogs. My husband and I were at a park a few years back prior to having the triplets and Jon (husband) was running around with some kids when a dog that was with someone in our group jumped up and took a bite out of my husbands side. I have never see Jon is so much pain and I was PISSED to say the least. The owner of the dog blew it off and so did his friends that were the parents of the little kids running around.
    Low and behold a year later the same dog then took a bite out of one of those little kids faces. If you can believe this, the dog is STILL alive today! YIKES!
    I am glad that William is okay. I would have been scared out of my mind if two large dogs came running at me and my family in a park. Those dogs should be put under.
    Nicole

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  27. Jen, this happened to us too, with two pit bulls too. Only the owners never did show up and I have seriously never been so afraid in my life. My kids were on foot and I had left the RA by the play equipment and we were walking around picking flowers when they came after us. I know they would have gotten Austin too, because he was the "smallest" in my herd. Thankfully, a man intervened. I really don't know what would have happened if that man hadn't jumped in and chased off the dogs. Greg was so mad, he wanted to go poison the dogs. We know where they lived. He didn't. But I carried a bat with me after that for a long time. Greg wanted me to wear my .38, but I didn't. I have a permit. I could have, but can you imagine wearing a gun to the park? I'm so glad this turned out okay for you guys. I almost couldn't even read it. It's the scariest thing ever.

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  28. omigod, jen, this is horrifying. i was nervous when i saw the title of the post, and the reading of it didn't make it any better.

    i can't believe what people do with their "pets" -- and how they respond when they clearly are in the wrong.

    hugs and prayers to you and your babies.

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  29. That is so scary. oh my God. Jen! and what an a**hole that guy was! I can't believe this. I'm in shock.

    People who let their dogs off-leash like that - they are inconsiderate, and also stupid. It's not safe for their dogs, either, not that their tiny brains can wrap themselves around that.

    I have a Chow Chow, and lots of people are, sadly, afraid of my dog. So I keep her safely leashed! My dog is sweet but why take a chance?

    As someone who deeply loves a "dangerous" dog, the actions of these irresponsible people makes me burn. People like this are why breed bans are enacted.

    I hope you all are okay. Ugh! so, so scary!

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  30. Jen,
    While I'm very sorry about what happened and I'm sure you were terrified, and that man and his dogs were VERY much in the wrong, so are you and many of your commentors.
    It is very wrong to generalize and label all pitbulls as some sort of monsters. That is the reason BSL (breed specific laws) are being passed against dogs like Pitbulls, German Shepherds, Great Danes, etc. These generalizations are causing many families - with children just like yours - to have to give up their adored pets, and kill them. To some people, their dogs are their babies. How would you feel if it it had ended horribly? That is how those people feel, except their babies are DEAD.
    Instead, changes need to be made to pass laws against stupid dog owners like the one you encountered, and some of the commentors. Then, situations like that will never happen again. People need to be regulated! But please, don't attack the innocents who have done nothing wrong. They have no voice.
    I hope you won't take this the wrong way, and again, I'm so very sorry to hear this happened to you. I hope William is okay! Because those dogs are not being regulated properly, I do urge you to take some kind of legal action, if possible.

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  31. Unbelievable. Here in the UK Pit Bulls are considered so dangerous that it's illegal to even own one.

    I feel for you. It's one of any parent's worst nightmares. So glad you are all ok.

    Really enjoy your blog by the way!

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  32. I am so glad you babies are okay. How terrifying that had to be.

    My kids are driving me batty today and I am trying so hard to keep my cool. Your post really helped me put it in perspective and I had to go over and give them a big hug.

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  33. thanks for your post. one of the parks we visit frequently is gated and people often bring dogs off leash.

    the dogs we have encountered have all seemed friendly so I have gotten commforable and let my guard down. my children are used to 'playing' with them. it seems silly but i forgot how dangerous it could be. I'll be more careful now.

    mom to four under two

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  34. Thank goodness that William and all of the other children are safe!!! I can't believe how irresponsible some dog owners are! You should definetly press charges if they find them.

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  35. I REALLY hope that the police catch those people so that you can press charges. I cannot believe that they wouldn't even apologize...and to fight with you! I'm so glad that William is okay and you are very fortunate that your father and sister were there with you to help protect your children. I'm sure it was terrifying to see something like that happen to your child, and I'm so glad that things weren't worse. Like somebody else said, make sure to take pictures because it will help when you press charges.

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  36. Oh Jen, this post made me cry. Poor William, Poor YOU! How terror stuck you all must have been. I agree with HW's comment, contact the newspaper and the local tv station. Maybe one of them will stake out the park.

    The idiot irresponsible owners. I've met a few nice pit bulls but I still insist they remain on leases when I'm around. Hopefully the owners will be found and the dogs taken away and given to a rehab place.

    Please give William an extra hug for me.

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  37. LIke everyone else has said, I am SO glad all of your family is okay. There is no excuse for having dogs...especially known aggressive dogs...off their leashes.

    I once taught a child who was attacked by a dog and had to have extensive plastic surgery on his face. He was around three when the attack happened. Fortunately, he did not develop a fear of dogs. He understood the safety rules of being around animals and that not all animals are nic and sweet, but was not scared of them unneccessarily. Hopefully William will evenutally forget the incident at the park. I am sure you had already taught them how to be safe around animals.

    Good luck finding these creeps!

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  38. spiked collar = tiny penis


    tee hee!

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  39. Oh my goodness! How frightening. And what is it about some people. We had a dog incident in a park and it left Laura very frightened. The dog (not leashed) broke away from the woman and ran at Laura, jumped on her, and cause Laura to start screaming. The dog was wagging its tail and was clearly friendly, but it freaked Laura. The woman ran up and all defensively said, "We have a right to be in the park" before I uttered a word. Not I'm sorry my dog frightened your child. Not sorry my dog wasn't on a leash. I was flabbergasted and was comforting Laura as she walked off, but I thought of everything I wished I had said at the time, and one of the words started with F.

    Deep breaths. You're a brave mama.

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  40. Holy s**t Jen,

    I am irate just reading this. Encountering dogs on the loose when I am out with my kids is one of those scenarios I have played in my head because it freaks me out so much. I am so thankful that William is okay. I cannot imagine the fear that went through your body seeing the dog on him. I hope you are able to track down the piece of s**t dog owners and press charges. And I don't doubt for 2 seconds that he would have stood a chance against you and your sister!

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  41. Oh Dear Lord. I am so sorry you had to go through that. I read that post and was shaking from the comfort of my own home. I am so deathly afraid of a dog attacking me while I am walking with my child... you just convinced me to add mace to my keychain. Just an FYI... from a lawyers wife... if you do find out who that (explicative) guy is, I suggest a lawsuit since you felt threated for your life and safety and for the lives and safety of your children. A creep like that should pay for making you go through that. Oh, I am just trembling thinking about it. I am so so so glad to hear that nothing tragic happened.

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  42. HOW TERRIBLE. Jen this is my worst fear when I am out walking with my kids. What a JERK!!! Good for you for telling him where to go and how. Definitely look into pepper spray. Oh and I hear that women are having tazer parties. Imagine meeting up with that guy again with a tazer in your diaper bag. Makes me smile just thinking about it. ;0)

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  43. Oh my goodness - how terrifying! I am so, SO glad that William (and all of you) are ok.

    Irresponsible dog owners make me SO mad, more mad than a lot of things. I do hope that the police do take action in this case as they were obviously completely ridiculously stupid people and shouldn't own any dogs, let alone dangerous ones.

    Here in the UK we have the Dangerous Dogs act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dangerous_Dogs_Act). The dogs you mention in your post would be destroyed in the UK after an incident like that. I do hope at least in your case (I don't know what the US laws are) that the owners are brought to justice.

    Big hugs to you and all the kids. Glad that you are safe. And WELL DONE - you are one hell of a mama, and your kids are d*mn lucky to have you on their side.

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  44. One of many cuzzins!4/23/08, 5:27 PM

    Dear God in Heaven, what an experience! Thankfully William wasn't seriously hurt. Hopefully the kids will be able to move past this and not be afraid of dogs for the rest of their lives. Poor William. You'll need to do some serious damage control before bedtime tonight.

    Hey, that guy certainly didn't know who he was dealing with....sounds like you were pretty quick on your feet and sharp with your tongue...BUT what about your sister???!!! That guy was pretty lucky that you two had 5 kids and an old man to protect...otherwise, Beth would have made certain that he and his beastly animals had a lot more than their sugar honey iced tea knocked out of them!!

    Hope you stake out the park and find the S.O.B. so you can teach him a little lesson in pet owner etiquette...with handcuffs.

    I so like the comment about the perpetrators appendage size!! No doubt that reader is spot on.

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  45. OH MY! Definately an S.P.A. - Stupid People Alert!!!
    Remember that friend of mine Marie whose nephew and friend were attacked by a pit bull - The young boy age 10 (?) died.

    Later South Carolinians were asked to sign a petition to have dangerous dog owners arrested and charged. (I think you still lived here at the time) Unfortunately it has taken about 15 years for this to take effect in our state! So horrible for the family nand any family having to deal with the horror. (I just can't imagine.)

    I remember when James was younger we were walking around Furman University; he ran over to try to pet a couple of dogs (pitbulls) and the dog owner (who thankfully had them on a leash) had a hard time holding the dogs back. I remember his anger toward me for not keeping my child at bay.

    So Very frightening! After reading that I think I need some chocolate p.b. cups too --- where does one buy Trader Joes???????

    Love ya and please give that gorgeous little boy a hug and kiss for me. So grateful for a happy ending. Love, Marg.


    PS Tell Beth I said hello and thank God she was there to help out! (still shaking my head at the thought of it) So sorry ya'll had to go through that!

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  46. Hi Jen

    This is first time commentor and a long time reader...I HAD to comment today as I have had a first hand experiance of this situation. I had a dog chase me when I was about 3-5 years old..I am not sure how old I was, but I do remember a big black dog running after me and my dad, uncle and the owner chasing the dog..Thankfully they caught the dog before it got to me, but till today I am afraid of dogs, leashed or unleashed..It was a very traumatic experiance....Since then, my parents always kept me away froM dogs, which was good for me as a kid, but now I have a perpetual fear of dogs which I find vey difficult to overcome...I am 27 and am expecting my first baby in Oct. I have several dogs running unleashed in my apartment complex and I am afraid of a dog biting me, and what it can mean for the baby...Really, I CANNOT be around dogs, how muchever I try!!

    Kiara

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  47. I am impressed by your bravery and appalled by the idiot dog owner who saw nothing wrong in letting his PIT BULLS off the leash. Here in Pa, those animals would be put down if caught. They may be sweet with the owners but they are bred to fight and maim... I am sorry this is how you ended what should have been a nice day in the park.

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  48. I think the mace in the carriage is a good thing. You never know what other kind of nut you might meet. I got a creepy feeling a few times when we were in the park alone. So, I am all for protecting yourself.
    Forwarned is forarmed.
    Mom

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  49. That is awful!! Too bad noone could get their license plate number. My daughter was bitten by a dog when she was 5 and is still afraid of dogs.

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  50. This is unbelievable. I'm so thankful that you and your family are okay. I hope that they find this jerk and you are able to press charges. Bless your heart.

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  51. Oh my goodness!! That is so scary! I am so thankful that little William is okay, poor thing! I always carry my mace with me when I take my girls walking, never know when you might need it! Good for you for kicking that mean dog! UGH!

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  52. OMG! How horrifying!
    I just sat here with my hand to my neck and my mouth dropped. I can not believe the absolute gall! How horrible!
    I am so glad you are all ok & good thinking filing the police report.

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  53. Way to take care of business! My wife and I are sick of pit bull owners who act like their furry, little, off-leash weapons are just gentle creatures who would never hurt a fly. My wife and I would have done exactly what you did to the dogs, and we give you a lot of credit for taking action. I hope you find out who this miraculously intelligent pit bull owner is and the cops set him straight. That said, if you get mace, then make certain to give the pit bull owner a little overspray shot of mace too for good measure.

    Kyle and Melissa
    www.gulyababies.blogspot.com

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  54. How scary. I'm glad everyone is okay. We've had
    a couple of run-ins with idiotic dog owners over the years, none quite as bad as yours. Not too surprisingly, the rudest owners have the most
    poorly-behaved dogs. My kids have all been
    somewhat wary to downright afraid of dogs... to
    the point where my daughter used to get
    anxious and scream if a dog came up to her.. which
    of course does not help keep the dog calm. We had
    to work with her on acting 'boring' for dogs.
    Anyway... big hugs. Hope no one has nightmares tonight. -Anita R.

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  55. Oh my God Jen!! That whole post gave me goosebumps, what an asshole! I'm so thankful that William and the rest of your crew are ok, that is so scary. I hope that man is haunted by the events of today and even more I hope that they find him and you can press charges. I have no doubt you got pictures of your sweet baby for proof and since you have witnesses it's all on your side. Give that sweet baby boy and hug from us in Texas!

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  56. OMG!!! WTF?? I can't BELIEVE that guy had the nerve to yell AT YOU. I'm surprised you didn't whupp(southern translation) his...well you know.

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  57. oh jen i'm sorry. as someone who works in a vet hospital i get very lets say, ticked off, when breeds get labeled as bad. HOWEVER, what so many people fail to realize is that certain breeds are more prone to aggression, certain breeds are more prone to hearding, and certain breeds have a higher prey drive and therefore need to be watched closely, trained properly, and ON LEASH AT ALL TIMES IN PUBLIC. i truly believe that 9 times out of 10 it's not the animal that's bad, it's the owner, and the one you encountered today was a doozey. that guy should not be allowed to own dogs, let alone dogs that lean towards the high testosterone/high prey drive end of the spectrum.

    that's number one. number two, you do not let dogs off leash in a park with young children, both kids and dogs are too unpredictable, it's a recipe for disaster and that guy needs to be fined or something for that. better yet, his dogs need to be taken away and placed in responsible homes.

    i'll be the first to admit, i love pitties. some of the best dogs i've met at work are pitties, but you know what i wouldn't have one (or a few other breeds) if i had small kids or allow one to be around small kids. that guy is, frankly, a moron.

    i would have reacted exactly like you did. that's the mama bear instinct for you. i am so relieved all your babies are fine. poor william though, that must have been terrifying for him. you did good mama. *hugs*

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  58. I've never commented before, but such irresponsible pet owners who believe the whole world should stop for their pets make me want to shout. We owned a large mixed mutt for the longest time, and while not considered to be from aggressive breeds, he was by large very aggressive and was often hard to control, and we would have never thought to EVER remove him from his lead at anytime in a public place. People who can't keep their animals properly restrained shouldn't own pets, when they release their aggressive animal they are risking everyone, including their pet! Just goes to show you, they didn't even care enough about their own dogs to keep them safe, let alone anyone around them.

    Those types of collars are used for particularly hard to restrain, or aggressive animals, and anyone who thought that having to use one to keep the animal under control on the LEAD, was a smart idea, needs a good swift kick to the pants. Considering how I am, I probably would have given the man a piece of me.

    I am so sorry that you had to go through something like that, and poor William to have to endure it and the others to have seen it. I hope this doesn't leave such a bad taste in their mouth about dogs that they remain so fearful throughout their lives, as this is such a scarring incident. My nephew has been afraid of dogs since one ran after him down a sidewalk, and it was a dog he knew, but he was not prepared for the animal to run at him, and it wasn't even aggressive, I can't imagine how hard it was to watch for everyone involved. I am so glad that William is physically okay and not seriously hurt.

    This comment has gotten entirely too long for someone who is posting for the first time, I apologize for the space that has been taken up.

    -A from Ohio

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  59. Oh.
    My.
    God.

    I am *so* glad that William and everyone else is safe. And that man is a complete fucktard (yeah, I'm feeling a little 11 right now, so what?) for thinking that the fact that the dogs HAD been on the leash meant anything in that moment when they WEREN'T.

    I hope the law enforcement find those horribly neglegent and irresponsible owners and do not let them get away with that shit.

    Horrible kids with parents who don't care and dangerous dogs with owners who can't be bothered? I'm glad you guys managed to get that playset together.

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  60. We should have a Dangerous Dog Act here in the US, where they put the owners down instead of the dog!

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  61. Having multiples can make you feel so vulnerable. More small children than hands. I know I'm always anxious. We got a remote starter for our van so I can lock them in while I'm loading and unloading and still have the heat or a/c on. We live in a condo and I can't let them play in the common area due to some residents who think the leash law doesn't apply to them. Last year I had a heated conversation with a man who wouldn't leash his dogs (which were barking and circling the stroller). I asked him to leash his dogs so I could let my kids play. He told me to leash my kids.

    I'm so glad you and the kids are okay. You have that beautiful play set in your yard - what a blessing!!!!

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  62. I can't believe the rage I felt when I read this...I want to do something!!! I'm scared of dogs myself and can't imagine the terror you felt. So thankful it all turned out okay.

    Where we live there is a ban on owning pitbulls. I think the people that already own them can keep them, but no new ones are allowed anymore.

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  63. Oh My God! That is so scary - I hope you got pictures of your son's injuries! I would press charges too, and I have nothing against that breed of dog, I do have something against people who don't properly train and dicipline thier pets. They're responsible for thier animal's actions and if they can't be responsible, they shouldn't be allowed to have the animal! The thing that is the worst, they didn't appologize??? That's crazy! I'm so sorry you had to go through that - I'm sure it nearly gave you a heart attack!

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  64. As a *responsible* owner of a pitbull, this bothered me... which I think its safe to say this bothered EVERYONE that read this. Ignorant people like that dog owner create monster dogs that have no manners, no listening skills and no people skills. Luckily your son got away with only a few scratches, where it could have been a TON worse. Its a shame that there are people (and dogs) out there that are like that, because it gives a bad name for all the good ones. I hope you find that jackass and press charges. Hopefully those dogs will get taken away and at the very least be given to resposible people.

    -Caroline

    OH! and BTW your kids are adorable!!! I am 17 weeks pregnant with my 1st, and I laugh at myself for saying this, but I hope my child comes out with as pretty blue eyes as your kids have!! =)

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  65. This comment is to Caroline at the bottom...I hope that you will consider getting rid of such a vicious dog with your new baby on the way. I can't imagine the heartache that would be caused if he (even though you are responsible) would for an instant be out of control with your newest bundle of joy. They were bred to attack and no matter how much training you give them, they are still wild animals. That just scares me.

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  66. Hi Jen!

    I am so sorry for what you went through and the fear your heart endured while watching William go under such attack.

    As a "responsible" dog owener of a 6 year old 140lb male rottweiler and mom to a 2 & 3 year old, I hope you do not hold this event against the breed or dogs in general. It is the owner that is the neglectful one and the irresponsible party for this happening. As Sarah said, BSL (breed specific laws) and becoming more and more strict and our dog is a part of our family, he is a gentle giant and true gentleman. I hope those other dogs are taken away from their owner and placed in another home with owners who will give them a life that they deserve and keep the public safe. It is unfortunate that a few "bad" owners can jepordize the companionship and security of many wonderful pets (so called "dangerous dogs")

    Thanks for letting me post my opinion! Let us know what happens!

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  67. WHAT THE *BERRY*???

    Outrage and disgust just washed over me as I read your post.
    I'm so, so sorry to hear what occurred.

    Good on you for all of your actions- I'm not prone to violence but I tell you what, if that had been my son I would have ripped the animal's throat out and then followed up with the owner's.

    You guys are amazing...this post was gutting.

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  68. I can't even believe..........what an arrogant irresponsible f-ing asshole! There -- I cussed a little more for ya.

    I'm so glad to hear that you pressed charges. I hope that idiot gets put in his place.

    Leash or no leash -- the dog attacked. Period.

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  69. Holy Crow!

    I own a dog (Wheaten Terrier) and he only goes off leash in designated off leash areas.

    I can't tell you the number of times we've encountered off leash pit bulls in non-off leash parks/areas and the owners have assured me that "they're really friendly".

    Pit bulls (American Staffordshire terriers or whatever you want to call them) are unpredictable, especially with non-family members. And any dog trainer worth his/her salt will tell you that a dog sees a child as hierarchically below the dog. Always. Without exception. So that dog feels it has every right to "correct" the child.

    I'm sure you know how lucky your family was. I hope you do find the owners and press charges. And while I'm not generally against any particular breed, I do think pit bulls should be a banned "breed". Regardless of the mantra "it's the owner not the dog", these dogs have been bred for hundreds of years to be aggressive. It will take many many decades to breed that instinct out of them. If at all.

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  70. Jen,
    My adrenaline is racing and I want to hunt these a-holes down!!!!!!!!
    keep us posted!
    cam

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  71. Terrible! I'm so happy you're all safe.

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  72. Wow, that is terrifying just to read - can't imagine how scared and angry you were at the time. I'm so glad the kids and you are safe, thank God. I hope you and/or the police will be able to track down this irresponsible owner, so that something like this can never happen again.

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  73. I must write back to say that I feel somewhat stalkerish because of how many times I have been checking to see if you have posted again. But, I can't help but wonder...has anything happened with all of this yet? Is everything okay? I know you said you wouldn't be posting much with everyone at your house (and goodness knows I hope you are enjoying your time with them all and celebrating all the birthdays and such) so I hope that it is why...just wanted you to know I was thinking of you...not really stalking you :) *in case you happened to see in your sitemeter :)

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  74. Courtney wrote "I hope that you will consider getting rid of such a vicious dog with your new baby on the way."
    Nowhere did Caroline indicate that her dog was vicious. I think it's pretty presumptuous to say that she should give her dog away when the only aspect of the situation you know about is her pregnancy and the dog breed.

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  75. Not that Jen's website needs to be a "breeding ground" for this conversation, but I assumed the comments would come...I'll respond with this: 1)I purposely (although hesitantly didn't leave my comment anonymously because that is just silly--you have an opinion, say so, don't "hide" behind your anonymity, 2) the breed IS vicious, I didn't need her to tell me hers was (or try to tell me it wasn't) because around a child like Mandy said (in the comments) dogs are always seen as higher in the hierarchy with children and NO CHILD's LIFE (or arm or scratch even) is worth a silly dog... 3) we had a chocolate lab--who are not known to be aggressive, but typically loving towards kids, and we got rid of him when I had my first because the risk just wasn't worth it...and it never will be.

    This is from the first pit bull website I pulled up from a biased (PRO PIT BULL BREED) opinion: http://www.pitbullsontheweb.com/petbull/breedinfo.php

    If you choose to become the owner of a Pit Bull, your dog park days are almost surely over, at least when the dog is somewhere over 8 months old. Accidental dogfights in off-leash parks are common, but when a Pit Bull is involved, they are headlines. Following Pit Bull Golden Rule #1 " NEVER trust your pit bull not to fight ", you can see why off-leash parks are a very bad idea for our breed. As a Pit Bull owner, you have certain responsibilities. Your responsibility to your dog (to keep him/her out of trouble), your responsibility to other dog owners (to keep their dogs safe from your dog), and your responsibility to your breed (to keep your dog OUT of negative headlines). Even pit bulls that have never exhibited dog aggression may fight back if approached by the wrong dog in an aggressive manner. I will repeat this for you. As the owner of a pit bull, any fight will always be your fault, no matter who started it.

    If that is true, which I am assuming it isn't as demanding as it should be (of course I am against pit bull breed) then why on earth would you EVER have one near a child?

    And for the record...I did say "consider..." not you are damned to hell if you don't get rid of your dog. It is obviously a decision she and her family need to make themselves...but I would hope that it would be at the very least a conversation that families would have in order to protect their (and others') children. I mean, they are banned from ownership in Britain...it's not like getting rid of pet fish or something here!

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  76. Wow, Jen, this is totally unlike you! We havent heard from you since Wed. I hope that everything is okay with you and your little boy!

    I hope that your visit with your family is going so well that you dont have time to write!

    I think that I have only posted a comment once before, but it's high time I write another comment to say how much I love your blog (in a non-stalkerish love sort of way). Although I kind of am stalking it right now to make sure its okay. It's funny how one can care sincerely about the well-being of someone so much. Someone that I have never even met.

    Happy Belated Birthday to you to from NJ!!! :) :)

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  77. How freakin' sacary! I would be just as pissed off. I'm so glad the kids are okay.

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  78. That is awful and his dogs were not on a leash. I am so sorry this happen to you and your precious children. Also, I am very thankful nothing happen to your children. At the same time I am tired of people not following the rules of our society. In fact tonight I watched my neighbor from the car allow her dogs to do their business by the window. I live in condos with an home owner's association and I am going to report her. We voted to have doggy poop bags installed in various areas so that a owner could easily get their hands on a bag. How rude of my neighbor.
    I just need to vent and I think you understand my frustration.

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