Monday, September 26, 2005

An Awful Day

Haven't been on for a while, but I've had a really stressful day and I'm just so chewed up I can't sleep, so I just had to let some of it out, so I'll say sorry in advance for boring you ...

Today, my dog bit a child. :-( Nothing serious, just a couple of nips ... didn't even go through his clothing, but that's not the point. He went for an eleven year old child. I feel so shocked and ashamed, I just want a big hole to open up in the ground and swallow me. I apologised to the boy, and a neighbour took him in (the boy had come to visit the neighbour's son when my dog rushed out of his own garden and into the neighbours') and said he would let his dad know. I said we would be in all day so he could come and talk to us about it.

Well, sure enough, he turned up, didn't even give us a chance to apologise and try to make amends, just told us he was calling the police and if they didn't order us to put Sonny to sleep he would come back and cut his throat. Needless to say, I was utterly shocked and just stood there at the door staring at him in disbelief. Once the door was closed I started crying again and shaking uncontrollably. That guy really really scared me.

Now, I know Sonny has problems, but I had no idea it was anywhere near as bad as this. We've only had him a few months, he came from a rescue place, and as well as being immaciated, he showed all the signs of being beaten and abused. He has some neuroses which we have been working on. He's been doing really well with his obedience training, and towards everyone else we know he is friendly and affectionate, so naturally, this came as a huge shock. And on top of that I had vicious threats from the boy's father.

Well, I phoned my cousin's house. Her husband is a policeman, and spoke to him, asking for advice. Or rather, I bubbled and wept while trying to speak coherently. He was very understanding and said that it didn't work that way, that he had no right to demand Sonny be destroyed, that the police did not have the power to order he be euthanised, and that the chances are it wouldn't even go to court. The boy sustained minor injuries, and in all his years in the police he had not known of one case like this that crown prosecution took up.

At worst we might get a fine, but more than likely we would get letter stating that we be required to ensure that he be more properly secured in future. Fair enough. I take full responsibility for my dog's actions and I agree he was dangerously out of control in a public place. He also said we should ring the police as well, to report the incident (which we are required to do so anyway) but to also tell them of the man's threats.

Well, a while later, the police arrived. He'd already been to talk to the boy and his father and took a statement. He'd also told the man that because he had made those threats that if anything happened to Sonny there would be arrests made at his house. Apparently the guy apologised to the officer for his conduct, but of course we can't expect an apology. Let's face it, he didn't get one from us ... he never gave us a chance! (To be truthful, I feel his son deserves the apology, not him.) We had to go down to the station to be interviewed on audio tape.

After the interview, the officer told us what the boy had put on his statement, and, as eleven year olds are apt to do, he had embellished his story somewhat! Apparently, Sonny latched onto his leg and violently shook his head for 10 seconds before having a go at the other leg! Now, I can't get angry at the boy, he'd had a nasty shock and maybe that is how he perceived it, but his dad saw those wounds (minor abrasions caused by friction from the fabric of his clothing and bruising from the pressure of the nips) and yet he believed what his son told him, and that's what really gets to me! Everyone else is in the wrong and of course his son is such an angel he just wouldn't tell a wee lie! I understand that he was angry and being protective over his boy, but really! Doesn't he realise he's just making himself appear really really stupid?

Anyway, the policeman told us that we seemed like sensible people who were already taking steps to correct Sonny's behaviour and had plans to install a larger gate and a crate for Sonny, and we had contacted a dog behaviourist for help, and that he really didn't think anything was going to come of it. Now we just have to wait and see.

Incidentally, the dog therapist is costing us £240. Just don't ask where the money is coming from because we don't know yet. But something has to be done. Money can be replaced. Sonny can't.

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