Our 5-year old son was attacked by our neighbor's supposed "service dog”!?!? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 100 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Our 5-year old son was attacked by our neighbor's supposed "service dog”!?!?

So our neighbor has a service dog due to his PTSD. He also fosters other service dogs-in training. Back when I did search & rescue, there were people in my organization who trained service dogs (it was their full-time job, SAR was their hobby), so I got to witness some quality animals who were always calm and very well trained. I've also seen many service dogs while out and about, and none of them ever acted up or made me think they weren't service dogs. Maybe I was experiencing the cream of the crop, or was just lucky enough to see the good ones.


I've never been impressed by this particular neighbor's dogs, as I hear them growling, barking, whimpering, whining and basically misbehaving (if they are indeed service dogs) all of the time (or they're really just acting like normal untrained or barely trained pets/dogs). I even hear my neighbor in his yard hitting and beating and cursing at his dogs when they don't listen to him. I've researched the service dog company that donates these dogs, and it looks as if they are taking random dogs out of shelters, giving them some training to pass simple tests, and then giving them away for free as "supposed" service dogs.


Well, his main personal fully-trained service dog was accidentally let out of the house by one of his children. I don't even think he was home (not sure why his dog wasn't with him as he's usually with him whenever he goes somewhere). This dog ran into our yard and chased our son, who was playing with the neighbor's children. Their children screamed at and grabbed the dog and dragged him back inside their house. Within minutes, the same child went in and out again, again letting the dog escape a second time. The dog ran back into our yard, chased our son, clamped down onto his hip and bit him, leaving the 4 canine bite marks and puncturing/bruising his skin. My wife was home with windows and doors open, but the screaming kids sounded like kids playing (these particular neighbor kids are always loud and screaming). When my wife heard crying, she came out to investigate. By that time the dog had stopped biting and chasing my son, as I believe the neighbor kids again grabbed the dog and were in the process of putting him back inside. That's when my wife found out that this happened twice, but the first time the dog was grabbed before he could bite. The neighbor's parents never came out, and I don't think their children ever told them about the incident because there's been no apology. My wife is friendly with his wife, and she's been waiting until she sees her outside to go over and make her aware of what happened. My wife is an introvert and doesn't want to go over there if they are both home, with or without me. She also wanted to figure out the best way to approach this so they don't try to turn this around on us and claim it's our son's fault that it happened. She's been asking friends who might have experience with this sort of thing. Our kids have never been attacked before, so this is new to us.


This service dog in question happened to be a pit bull. I have nothing against pit bulls, and I would own one in a second. I've been around plenty of them in shelters as a volunteer and with friends/co-workers who owned them. But I will admit that the majority of attacks on our dogs have come from pit bulls, and now 100% of the attacks on our children have been from a pit bull who is supposedly a service dog. It blows my mind.


So on top of this, last night we were at the vet with our dog and an older couple brought in 4 service dogs, all wearing SERVICE DOG vests. These dogs were barking and going ballistic as soon as they walked in the door and saw the other dogs in the waiting area. The vet staff told us that the service dogs don't get along with other dogs, so this couple was given a room to go back to before all of the other people who had been waiting longer.


These 2 incidents got me thinking: have service dog requirements suddenly been relaxed? I've never seen service dogs attack people, children, other dogs, or even act up while out in public. Usually they are very calm, focused, and doing their job 100% of the time that they are with their person. I know there are plenty of people parading around with their pet claiming it's a service dog just so they can bring the dog anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes it's difficult to differentiate real SDs from pet "SDs". But in both cases here, they are confirmed SDs.


The situation with my son getting bit is a sticky one, as we want to stay on good terms with all of our neighbors for various reasons. Our son's wounds have healed (though my wife took pictures of the bite marks as proof just in case we ever need it), he doesn't seem to be traumatized in any way towards dogs which is good, and we established new rules that our kids are not allowed to play outside if the neighbors are home. I understand that a dog attack can happen in seconds just as this one did, and that the next time it could be fatal (for our kids or any of the other neighborhood children). We want to make this dog's owners aware, and make our other neighbors aware, because a lot of our neighbors have small children and sometimes they're allowed to wander the neighborhood unsupervised. With this possibly vicious dog under the guise of a service dog title being allowed to escape and roam the neighborhood, we worry for other children's lives now.

Last edited by Wulf; 11-02-2016 at 04:51 PM.
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post #2 of 100 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 04:54 PM
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There are tons of people who are taking advantage and bringing fake service dogs in public. There are also tons of people who are just ignorant and aren't really trying to be fraudulent, they just don't know the difference between a service dog and an emotional support animal and a therapy dog....they throw out whatever lingo comes to mind and these animals are usually just beloved pets or ESAs by legal definition.

Regardless, I feel strongly that you should have and should still report the bite. The dog is dangerous, it isn't being properly contained, it could have and could still get much worse. Document the injury, call the cops and call animal control. If the dog was actually a service dog it has no business ever working in public again.
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post #3 of 100 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Thecowboysgirl View Post
There are tons of people who are taking advantage and bringing fake service dogs in public. There are also tons of people who are just ignorant and aren't really trying to be fraudulent, they just don't know the difference between a service dog and an emotional support animal and a therapy dog....they throw out whatever lingo comes to mind and these animals are usually just beloved pets or ESAs by legal definition.

Regardless, I feel strongly that you should have and should still report the bite. The dog is dangerous, it isn't being properly contained, it could have and could still get much worse. Document the injury, call the cops and call animal control. If the dog was actually a service dog it has no business ever working in public again.
Completely agree. What are you waiting for? Report this. Did you take your son to the hospital/doctor? I would have thought they would have reported it. This is nothing to play round with.

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post #4 of 100 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Thecowboysgirl View Post
There are tons of people who are taking advantage and bringing fake service dogs in public. There are also tons of people who are just ignorant and aren't really trying to be fraudulent, they just don't know the difference between a service dog and an emotional support animal and a therapy dog....they throw out whatever lingo comes to mind and these animals are usually just beloved pets or ESAs by legal definition.

Regardless, I feel strongly that you should have and should still report the bite. The dog is dangerous, it isn't being properly contained, it could have and could still get much worse. Document the injury, call the cops and call animal control. If the dog was actually a service dog it has no business ever working in public again.

So the community where we live, we are only allowed 2 pets. We have more than 2 pets (all of them are rescues who needed a home. Actually, many people here illegally have more than 2 pets [or have dog breeds that are banned; i.e. Pitbulls!], to include our neighbors.), so we're worried that if we report them over this bite, they could report us, as they know how many pets we have. This would create major problems, so our hands are somewhat tied, unintentionally. They are moving in a matter of weeks, and we're moving within 6 months. We won't have any issues between their dogs and our children with the new rules in place, but other families who live around them and are unaware might run into problems. This is a very difficult situation, especially if the dog kills someone and we had advanced warning. Our first step is to at least make them aware that they need to have better control over their dogs.

Last edited by Wulf; 11-02-2016 at 05:08 PM.
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post #5 of 100 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 05:08 PM
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My opinion is that your child's and everyone else's child's safety is the priority and it is your obligation to report this dog's behavior.

If it warrants the dog being declared dangerous in your state/county they can impose regulations on this dog about how it is housed and kept and impose siezure and euthanasia if those standards aren't met, which is appropriate.
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post #6 of 100 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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My opinion is that your child's and everyone else's child's safety is the priority and it is your obligation to report this dog's behavior.

If it warrants the dog being declared dangerous in your state/county they can impose regulations on this dog about how it is housed and kept and impose siezure and euthanasia if those standards aren't met, which is appropriate.
In this particular situation, if we report this incident and they seek revenge and report our illegal number of pets, I could potentially lose my job and my retirement pension. I'm 6 months away from retirement. This isn't something I can play around with. We did not take our son to the hospital. My wife treated his wounds and did not deem them bad enough to warrant a doctor visit.


My wife learned her lesson when one of our 100%-indoor house cats scratched her hand and it got infected while she was pregnant, so she went to the hospital for treatment and told them what happened. Well, the community management quarantined our cat and we had to pay all sorts of money to run lab tests and pay for unnecessary vet bills with the threat of them putting our cat down (for a simple cat scratch!). Needless to say we'll be glad to move in half a year!
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post #7 of 100 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 05:23 PM
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In this particular situation, if we report this incident and they seek revenge and report our illegal number of pets, I could potentially lose my job and my retirement pension. I'm 6 months away from retirement. This isn't something I can play around with. We did not take our son to the hospital. My wife treated his wounds and did not deem them bad enough to warrant a doctor visit.


My wife learned her lesson when one of our 100%-indoor house cats scratched her hand and it got infected while she was pregnant, so she went to the hospital for treatment and told them what happened. Well, the community management quarantined our cat and we had to pay all sorts of money to run lab tests and pay for unnecessary vet bills with the threat of them putting our cat down (for a simple cat scratch!). Needless to say we'll be glad to move in half a year!
Too many pets can affect your job and pension? With all due respect, you put yourself in this position and you've already decided you aren't going to do anything. There's no advice to give you.

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post #8 of 100 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 05:24 PM
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Okay no offense but for your son's sake you need to at the very least make sure he has had his rabies vaccine. I don't like vaccines but the idea of anyone having to undergo a series of shots is really unthinkable.

Second I am trying to learn about training my dog to be a service dog but if she had ever shown aggression to other people I wouldn't let her become one. My understanding it takes a lot of time and training and I am still just working on the basics and figure if she was ever to be a service dog I would have to invest at least 2 years of training on top of what I am doing now. Maybe I am just ignorant but I would never want my dog to attack a person much less a child. Now if there are kids breaking into my home that is another matter all together.

So even if you do not report it which you probably should being that 1. your kid was not in the dog's yard 2. what happens if he attacks a smaller child or goes for the throat the next time? Gosh forbid it happens again before you leave and you lose a child yours or a neighbors. Then they are going to go at you for not reporting it in the first place. (of course I don't know the laws in your state or where you are but just because you are in the right doesn't mean you can't be sued. 3. YOU HAVE TO MAKE SURE SINCE THE SKIN WAS BROKEN THAT HE HAS A CURRENT RABIES VACCINE! That is for your child's health much less an adult. Personally as long as a dog has had 2 vaccines in their lives of rabies a year apart I would be good even if it had been over 3 years because Texas A & M did a long study that the rabies vaccine last at least 10 years (they didn't do the study longer than 10 years)

At the very least I would really ask to see proof of vaccine for the particular dog that bit him for your son's sake.
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post #9 of 100 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 05:30 PM
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How can you lose your job because you have too many animals?

I know you are in a bit of sticky situation BUT A DOG ATTACKED YOUR CHILD!! Seriously!

This needs to be reported. Now! Although with as much time as has passed I don't know what will happen now.

A dog attacked your child! These people kids don't have control or foresight and WILL let the dog out again. What if the next child it attacks dies. Are you going to be ok with that??

Have you even talked to neighbor yet?? Geez, I get your wife is an introvert, but for goodness sake A DOG ATTACKED YOUR CHILD ! Why the heck are you hemming and hawing.

Keep your extra cats inside and hidden, they cannot force their way into your home to check and REPORT THIS!
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post #10 of 100 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 05:32 PM
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Also if you do not report it do not let your kids have friends over until you move away from him as a homeowner you would probably be legally responsible even if it wasn't your dog!
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