A new mom has been backed online for exercising caution around a couple walking with an “aggressive looking breed of dog.”
The woman drew criticism from the dog’s owners after shielding a stroller carrying her four-month-old son as they came past her with the canine but many on social media thought she was right to be wary.
While fatal dog attacks are rare, statistics suggest it’s worth people remaining on their guard. According to a 2018 report issued by the public education website DogsBite.org, over 35 different breeds of dog contributed to 433 deaths in the U.S. over a 13-year period.
The data shows that pit bulls contributed to 66 percent of these fatalities with rottweilers responsible for the second highest proportion with 10 percent.
Aside from the figures, the news is littered with stories about children being killed in dog attacks. In March, a 7-month-old girl was mauled to death by a dog in a backyard in Georgia, while in February a 4-year-old in Texas died as a result of injuries sustained during a dog attack.
Elsewhere, a 6-year-old girl was lucky to escape with her life after being attacked by a wolf-like dog in Las Vegas. With so many incidents being reported in the press, it’s hardly surprising to hear parents are taking no chances around dogs.
However, for one woman sharing her story to Mumsnet, that cautious approach landed her in hot water with the pet’s owners. According to her version of events she was walking down a “reasonably narrow path” with her baby in a buggy when she spotted a couple coming towards them with an “aggressive looking breed of dog.”
“I decided that I didn’t want to take the risk, so without saying anything to them, I politely stopped in the path, stood in front of my son’s buggy and waited for them to pass,” she wrote.
Though the woman was happy to let them pass without comment, one of the dog walkers began “yelling” at her: “My dog isn’t going to eat your baby” and accused her of being “overprotective.”
The new mom explained that she had no way of knowing if the dog was okay or not but the pet’s owner was still unhappy, accusing the woman of “scaring” the canine by stopping there.
The new mom was not about to back down though, explaining to the woman that it was “ridiculous” for her to “expect strangers to trust her assertions about her large dog.” The woman was left feeling confused as to why they were so “offended” and readers were in agreement about that.
Bananabutter wrote: “If people choose to have aggressive breeds they need to live with the consequences of that, and one of those is that nobody is going to want to go near it no matter how ‘friendly’ and ‘lovable’ they are.”
BobbinHood added: “You can’t win with these dog owners…There will always be someone complaining about people letting their children come up to their dog, but if you take steps to avoid dogs you get berated for it too.”
LemonGreenTea commented: “If you are an entitled dog owner who thinks people should love being close to your dog just stop…If your dog makes you happy then that’s great but it doesn’t make us who are trying to avoid your dog for whatever reason happy.”
A small minority felt the new mom’s reaction was a little over-the-top.
Thesearmsofmine wrote: “Unless the dog was acting unhappy/aggressive rather than just plodding along on its walk I feel you were a bit OTT stopping and standing in front of the pram [stroller].”
However, those commenting on the post were, for the most part, in agreement that she was allowed to react any way she wanted to.
WhereverILayMyCat said: “You did what made you comfortable and it’s really none of their business. Every dog owner will sing the praises of their dog, but just because they love it doesn’t mean you have to.”
Newsweek has contacted the original poster for comment.