Sunday, November 18, 2012

Unsupervised children overpower helpless dog

A roving band of children cornered and seriously entertained a loose dog yesterday in the League City, Texas suburban neighborhood of Centerpointe.
It is suspected that the children were between six and nine years old.
Neither the dog nor the children were subject to any obvious control or supervision by hovering adults at the time of the incident.
The dog was rendered blissfully passive as she was alternately rubbed, scratched, and petted.
Witnesses report that the children and the dog also spent close to an hour engaging in games of chase and fetch within the public right of way, also without direct adult intervention, and without the dog being leashed.  The children had no prior knowledge of the dog's training or temperament, but successfully negotiated the play interaction with the animal despite this limitation, as evidenced by their constant screams of delight.  The witnesses refused to identify themselves for fear of social, legal, or regulatory reprisal. 

It is believed that no similar incidence of spontaneous, unchoreographed play has occurred anywhere in League City since approximately 1984, prior to the time when stranger danger paranoia swept American society. 

In the intervening years, normal children's activity has become increasingly criminalized, as evidenced by the case of the Virginia mother who was interrogated repeatedly by police for allowing her children to play unsupervised within their own yard

Much closer to home, a La Porte, Texas mother recently made national news when she was arrested and jailed for allowing her two children to play unsupervised on their suburban street despite her defense that she was, in fact, visually monitoring her children from her position in a lawn chair that may have been situated out of the public's direct line of sight.  Her children are the same ages as the children depicted above, and La Porte is located just sixteen miles from League City.

What prompted yesterday's bold demonstration of trust and affection is not known.  However, greater Houston's primary English language commercial news network, local ABC affiliate KTRK-TV, recently distinguished itself by documenting the "free range" parenting movement and showcasing with actual statistics the degree to which "stranger danger" fears are unfounded, and follow-up reporting by independent sources emphasized these facts.  It is possible that some local parenting attitudes are quietly evolving in the face of this compelling information.

League City police are not investigating yesterday's incident. 
Neither the children nor the dog were harmed during the event, although the dog's owners now wonder if her future expectations for affection will become a bit over-inflated. 

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