Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dog Bites Children Story



 New sign at Crocker Farm Elementary School

I'm feeling remiss to even publish the link to this petition on everyone's favorite left wing platform, Change.org, since I'm sure it will probably stimulate a signature or two and School Superintendent Maria Geryk tells me she gets livestreamed email notification with each signature.  Yikes!

I always thought not having dogs on school grounds during school hours was the kind of thing you did not need to put signs up over.  Kind of like those warnings on motor oil not to drink the product.

Considering today's front page Gazette article confirms the dog that viciously attacked two school children on school grounds during school hours still has not been identified, thus forcing the children to undergo rabies vaccination, it's probably not the best time to start such a petition drive.

I was also a little taken aback by the Gazette naming the two children.  Our local hometown newspaper has a policy of not naming sexual assault victims so why should dog assault be any different -- especially when they are juveniles.

I've named (and received bitter criticism over it) college aged youth who died via heroin overdose or falling while under the influence of alcohol or even a suicide victim who used a dangerous (to first responders) chemical cocktail in an enclosed automobile. 

But I would not have named the children involved in this traumatic event, even with parent permission.

Although I would be happy to publish the name of the irresponsible dog owner who selfishly left the scene thus sentencing those two children to a scary procedure.

Anyone have any tips? 


40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your complaint is about journalists naming names. The petition is about allowing adults to bring dogs to school.

I think it's irresponsible to bring dogs to school, regardless of how "responsible" the adult is. A lot of children are nervous around animals. Some have had traumatic experiences. This petition is garbage. Unfortunately, there's no place to comment on the petition, but Lisa Can, the OP is on Facebook https://www.change.org/u/147710520

Brian W. Ogilvie said...

I'm presuming that since Amanda Seaman was interviewed by the reporter, she consented to having her daughter's name published.

Larry Kelley said...

I also assumed that.

But you still have a journalistic duty to mitigate harm.

Not all parents are PR experts.

Anonymous said...

You know you live in Amherst when.....you make a long term policy out of any passing event.

Are we actually making it a community issue out of kids getting shots? Doesn't the community require many of these to even attend the local youth training, echem I mean schools.

If you find the owner, hold them responsible, if not, the issue is dead and folks need to learn to move on. I guess if you get off on more rules than anyone can even pay attention to, then this makes complete sense, but it is not the community's job to facilitate such fetishes.

What's next, house invasions for not registering your dog, even if you move. What decent community would let things devolve to that level and let community leaders stay in place?

The folks with the petitions are as much of a plague to the community as those with unleashed dogs. In either case there is a dangerous animal on the loose that push their will on others.

Larry Kelley said...

No schools require children to routinely undergo rabies vaccinations.

Anonymous said...

I think Anon 1128 has no idea what it means to go through a rabies series of shots. It's not just a shot in the arm. It's much more traumatic and painful.

Anonymous said...

I have a tip. I saw the dog on Shay Street the day of the attack. It had a red collar on but was just running loose. I don't think anyone left the scene, as it looked like the dog had gotten loose. I assume that it eventually went home, so someone is failing to come forward.

Anonymous said...

Is the "no dogs" sign new? That is not clear from the article.
Mig

Larry Kelley said...

Yes, in the photo above (taken this morning) the no dogs sign is new. The one above it is old.

Anonymous said...

I can accept that rabies shots are more intense than some other shots. If there is no one to blame, everyone still has to learn to grow up and stop pointing fingers, move on.

We could also be realistic and even though we know rabies exists, we can know that the odds of that dog having it are far less than the odds of getting T-boned on the way to drop your kid off at that great school any day.

It is also likely that the trauma of all these adults around you getting all worked up, is likely worse than the trauma of the shot. In 20 years the kid will likely remember the bite and the adults in a tizzy and forget the shot.

Now if they could ID the dog or the owner and there was actual negligence proven in a court of peers, then we have something to talk about, perhaps even take action on.

Sucks for the kid though, now it is time to move on because there is no action item.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 320. Easy for you to say. Let's just shut up and move on. You're not the one who got the stitches and series of 4 shots. Someone must know who the dog is. Like maybe the owner. And they truly are a coward for not coming forward.

Anonymous said...

Dogs in Amherst are supposed to be licensed. I would start with who has a dog on Shay Street that is that breed.

Anonymous said...

Also all dogs are supposed to be on leashes all the time. When I was growing up no one was ever allowed durning school hours to bring their dogs to any of the schools or walk through them. I have seen first hand people walk their dogs on school grounds, not pick up after them and let them run off leash durning school hours. That is not right.

Anonymous said...

All dogs are Supposed to be licensed doesn't mean they are. Im sure the dog licenses have already been gone through. That would probably be the first step.

Reality bites said...

The owner'll come forward.


I mean, one big happy community, right?


Everyone looks out for everyone else, right?


Right???


-Squeaky Squeaks


p.s. Banana?

Anonymous said...

How selfish and insensitive to not be able to understand that many kids are justifiably scared around dogs, and many will be even more so now. Dogs have no place on school grounds. My impression is that some of these parents find it inconvenient that they can't tie in their doggy walk with kid pick-up, others just can't handle having to follow rules they didn't make. Also separate from the quality of the kids' environment I personally support any rules that reduce the possibility that I'm going to get a slobbery tongue and wet nose all over my hands or a curious snout planted in my crotch every time I'm picking up or dropping off my kids.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, I am finding that elementary schools across the country who post their school rules and regs online, do not welcome/permit dogs or other animals on school grounds during drop-off and pick-up. It's the norm. This isn't some radical enforcement of an unheard of type of policy, based solely on one event, like some of the petition signers would have us believe; it's reasonable policy and best practices that are being implemented to increase safety and improve the learning environment.

Walter Graff said...

My great great great grandfather created the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. I am a dog lover. I've had dogs all my life and work hard to help people learn about the proper caring and the best route regarding dog nutrition and well being. I respect the ability of dogs to be included as family members. To me it is a right. In fact, dogs should have more freedoms than the laws often dictate.

That said, NO dog should be allowed on the grounds of a school at any time. PERIOD!! This is not about one bad dog, but rather about children and their needs. Many children are afraid or apprehensive of dogs and a school should be 100% safe for a child.

Plus dogs shit and pee all over school lawns. Sure you pick up the poop but residue is left in the grass and children sit and play in that grass and the last thing they need is getting sick because the residue of dog feces was ingested.

Allowing dogs on-leash to be on school grounds is not in the best interest of the children.

Anonymous said...


"Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs.

Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; at least half of them are children.

Children are, by far, the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured.

Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs."


From AVMA website page on Dog Bite Prevention: https://www.avma.org/public/pages/dog-bite-prevention.aspx


That's a lot of "irresponsible owners" out there!

Anonymous said...

Here's one of thousands of examples of clearly stated policies at elementary and upper level schools around the country:

http://jefferson.rbusd.org/cms/page_view?d=x&piid=&vpid=1331123238402

It's just common sense, almost everyone gets it. The question is, why has it taken so long to formally implement such a common sense policy?

Dr. Ed said...

I am disappointed in the difference of police response to finding a dog (which may be rabid) and finding college kids who are drinking a beer.

Cops are neither stupid nor blind -- they could have found that dog if they REALLY wanted to...

Anonymous said...

a parent of one of the children who was bitten has signed the petition to allow leashed dogs on school grounds.

that says something.

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, sure does.

Anonymous said...

And after reading this, all the more reason to not license your dog....it is the way you will get caught if something accidentally happens.

It is easy to say let's just more on, but not because it was not my kid, it is because there is no one to blame.

Everyone here has had things happen they got away with, where they should have been caught and punished. Your dog accidentally getting loose could happen to anyone and has happened to many reading this. This is not as bad is raising a crappy kid (crappy future adult) and this is far more rampant, even in this community.

I certainly hope that those that feel that a dog can never be off a leash, never own a dog, they clearly don't get dogs. People who do not have enough land should not own dogs, the leash is not the solution. Suburbia is not the place for dogs anyway. It is dog abuse to own one just so you can look at it an hour a day.

Anonymous said...

"Dr. Ed said...
I am disappointed in the difference of police response to finding a dog (which may be rabid) and finding college kids who are drinking a beer.

Cops are neither stupid nor blind -- they could have found that dog if they REALLY wanted to..."

Hey Mr Ed-
It's much easier to find college kids drinking a beer when they are on the street walking around, than it is to find a dog, kept in a house. Pit bulls have a bad reputation- they are not all bad dogs, but depending where the owner lives maybe they aren't allowed to have dogs, thus not registering them with the town. So indeed, it is harder to find a dog. Im sure the animal officer Carol is doing her best to track down this guy and dog- I know her, and she loses sleep over stuff like this as she is very dedicated. How bout you just relax, and let it play out- hopefully they find it, and you can focus your attention on all the other aspects of amherst life. Don't worry about what the PD is or isn't doing- there just may be a lot more behind the scenes going on that isn't released or that you know about.

Anonymous said...

Northampton has it right in their city bylaws: No owner/keeper of a dog shall allow it on public school property during school hours without the permission of the school principal, unless it is in a vehicle and kept in such a way as to prevent contact with passersby.

It's time Amherst government formalizes the safety policy pertaining to dogs on school grounds.

keithw said...

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss Dr Ed's post. I'll bet they would rather deal with a college kid over a dog that has just bitten 2 people. I'll even go so far as to say they'd probably rather encounter the dog's owner instead of the dog itself, knowing that there is the likelihood that they might have to shoot the dog on site if it were threatening.

And before people start going BS about what I just wrote, google "cops shooting dogs" first, if you're not already familiar with the epidemic of dogs being shot by police in this country.

Also, imagine the public response to police gunfire on Shays St. in Amherst. I wouldn't be surprised if this was discussed beforehand by responding officers and shift supervisor.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so the parent of one of the children permanently scarred for life has signed a petition. Non sequitur. Victims of abuse often don't prosecute either. That doesn't mean we should stop doing what is best for the children. Most school systems ban dogs. Amherst is not special. Only it residents think they are.

Anonymous said...

The petition states in part: "Please allow responsible dog owners to bring leashed dogs to pick up and drop off at Amherst MA Public Schools."

What constitutes a "responsible" dog owner, and more importantly, who will be empowered to make this judgment? Does "responsible" mean "I properly care for my pet," or does it mean "I will accept responsibility when my dog bites a child"? It appears from the petition that a dog owner who simply has "vaccination records" is automatically deemed a "responsible" pet owner.

The behavior of a pet at home, and one in the community, can vary considerably. How large is a "designated area," and who will provide oversight as to its use?

In addition, the protective instincts of certain dogs can greatly increase when "their" small children are physically present. What happens when an excited classmate wants to pet the dog? The common excuse of "He's never done that before..." might work in a public park, but is unacceptable at an elementary school. Who is responsible if the child still touches the dog - even after the owner has firmly said "No!"? The child?

Anonymous said...

I don't have a tip but I know who does. The cops at the scene talked to Vince O'Connor, who encountered and talked to the young man who gathered the dog after it bit the kids and before he took off fast with the dog. Vince knows who the young man is, but he adamantly refused and continues to refuse to tell the cops identifying information, therefore they can't get to the dog, so the kids who got bit have to go through rabies treatments.

Larry Kelley said...

I asked a reliable source and he said that was not true.

Anonymous said...

I don't doubt that your source is generally reliable but I am hearing that multiple and reliable people involved say he was there, was in contact with the young man who fled with the dog, and since refuses to talk.

Anonymous said...

I have heard that also Anon 1147.

Anonymous said...

Hey Larry. Did you ask Vince if the story is true? Did you check the police report? You seem to be adept at getting them.

Walter Graff said...

Petition all they want, Ms. Geryk did the right thing. Signs are up. Rule in effect.

Anonymous said...

Is there a reliable account of the color of the dogs collar?

Larry Kelley said...

Nothing confirmed.

Anonymous said...

Where the hell were the adults? Geezum~now we have to worry about dog bites while our children are in school, along with racial attacks, concealed weapons, out of control, angry adults, picking on our children of color? What next? No really~what is to come next? And a big, new, shiny, costly, sign is simply damage control ~ nothing more. How can anyone commend this sort of action?

Anonymous said...

according to an email from Geryk posted on the petition web site, the plans to put up the no dog signs & change the policy were well underway before the unfortunate dog biting incident at Crocker Farm.

Dr. Ed said...

Don't worry about what the PD is or isn't doing- there just may be a lot more behind the scenes going on that isn't released or that you know about.

When I see the adult that was responsible for this being held to at least the standard of a UMass student with a loud stereo == when I see someone arrested, when I see someone having to pay a bail bond fee, having to appear contritely before Judge Payne and pay at least a $300 fine -- then I will believe you.

Every police officer I personally know considers the protection of children from harm to essentially be above all else. Every police officer I know considers anything that harms a child to be particularly vile.

It's the same point I attempted to make in my protest of the RSU's Penis Montage -- "Real Men Protect Children" -- straight, gay or whatever -- you don't have the right to call yourself a "man" if you aren't willing to protect children from harm.

The political left and political right in this country do agree on one thing -- we all agree that there is some sort of collective obligation to look out for our collective children -- the disagreements are over how to best do this.

So I come back to is the costs of having a vicious dog versus the costs of having a party. Granted, being kept up all night by loud drunken revelers really sucks -- and sucks even worse the next morning when you're trying to stay awake

But that's not on the same level as some child's face being ripped open, is it? Anyone want to speculate on the consequences of some UM students having a party that somehow put a couple of chldren into the hospital?

that would never be tolerated, and we know that.