If you’re knowledgeable of laws against the dog community, you know that if a dog bites someone, he or she gets put down. Well, these parents went against the staff’s advice, and their child suffered for it. But now, the dog might too.
AUSTIN, TEXAS — How does the saying go? “If you back a dog into a corner, it’s going to bite”? Barkpost notes that before a child is introduced to a dog, it’s best that the dog is allowed time to release a lot of his or her energy. This way accidents could be avoided, especially when dogs are hyper and playing among themselves. If you saw a hyperactive group of dogs, would you set your small child near them? There’s a set of parents in Texas that would.
Neville, the Travis County dog currently on death row, found himself in a peculiar situation on September 22, 2015. Months prior, as part of a rescue program, Neville was taken to a facility called Austin Pets Alive!. Essentially, it’s an animal shelter.
— Erin Maiorino (@RedHairSheDevil) September 29, 2015
Well, on the 22nd, a family visited the shelter. According to Austin Pets Alive!, Neville and the other dogs were playing in a designated area. Once the family entered the area, a staff member promptly advised them not to set their child down while in the yard. As similarly aforementioned, the dogs were a bit hyper since they were playing. However, these parents decided to go against the grain and set their little boy down anyway.
At that point, as the shelter reports, the child began to grab on Neville — and actually cornered him. This goes back to the old cliché mentioned in the beginning of the article, right? Barkpost also mentions that, when a dog is interacting with a child for the first time, you’re supposed to allow the dog to come to the child…not the other way around.
“Children love puppy dogs, and may rush right over to your pooch in excitement. Speak to kids before they encounter your dog. Explain that the doggy may be nervous at first and they must be very quiet and very still so they won’t scare him. When the dog feels safe, he will make his way over to be introduced.”
Nevertheless, as a result, the child was bitten. Austin Pets Alive! notes as follows.
“It is a very unfortunate situation for everyone, as we would never want a child to be harmed. However, we believe this was entirely preventable had our staff’s instructions and common sense been followed.”
As could be expected, the family got the courts involved in the matter. They want the maximum penalty for Neville’s reaction. And as unfortunate as it may be for the Travis County dog, Austin Municipal Court Judge Clervi granted the order to put the family’s request into motion.
— Kris Betts (@KrisB_KVUE) October 8, 2015
Since then, the animal shelter has started a petition on Change.org in attempt to save Neville’s life. The Dog Behavior Team manager of the shelter, Mike Kaviani, says that he’s not a dangerous or vicious dog at all. He also mentions that the dog had no other way of relating what he didn’t like about the situation.
“He did not seek out the child to bite, he was simply reacting to the child who cornered him. We haven’t been given any options at all other than killing the dog or we would be taking them. We are saddened and outraged we were not given an opportunity to find a better outcome for Neville.”
“Dogs can’t speak to us and tell us they don’t like something we are doing. They have limited ways to communicate and it’s our job to understand that.”
However, there is a lighter side. As an update to the situation, the shelter has shared news with Neville petition supporters noting that they, now, have a team of attorneys on the case. Also, they mention that they could be pursuing all legal remedies.
Currently, there are approximately 111,000 supporters on the petition. And it’s still rapidly growing. Will you be one to add your name to the list?
How do you feel about the situation? Would you have set your child near the dogs when advised against it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
[Image Courtesy of Twitter]