A “prescription for problems” is how lawyer, Kenneth Mollins of Melville, described PETCO’s policy of allowing pets to come into the store and “shop” with their owners. He has recently been retained by Diane Christian, mother of 5 year old Danielle, who was recently bitten in the face by a “shopping” Rottweiler. So far, the young girl has undergone a four-hour surgery to reattach her upper lip and has more surgeries scheduled for the future.
“My child will never look the same because of this,” said Christian.
PETCO spokesman, Don Cowan, said the store allows pets to accompany their owners shopping because it’s fun, and they haven’t had enough serious incidents over the years to discourage this policy. While he says he does not know all the details of the Bay Shore incident, PETCO has launched an investigation into the situation. Of course, this raises both eyebrows and questions; the main one being, “How many are enough serious incidents?” One might be inclined to question why a single incident of a person being bitten wouldn’t be enough to make PETCO alter their policy.
A great deal has to do with the fact that, not only are pets being taken from their usual surroundings and placed into a situation where they are placed in contact with other animals and unfamiliar people, but the fact that in many situations, the people they encounter are far more undisciplined than the pets. While it is easy to sympathize with a mother whose child has just been mauled by a dog (especially when the dog in question is known to be considered one of the more risque breeds), there are many more questions left unanswered.
A primary question is “What mother allows their five-year old child to go running up to a strange dog, especially one that is large enough to be on face level with said child?” While PETCO may be creating a prescription for problems in allowing pets to interact with strange and unfamiliar people, so too are the people contributing to this problem. If the girl had been properly supervised and either placed into her mother’s shopping cart or holding her mother’s hand in the store, would she have been bitten?
Sadly, two souls have been made to pay for this injustice; a small child and a dog that could have very well been doing what came natural to him. Hempstead Town spokesman, Mike Deery, stated that the owner of the Rottweiler has since taken the dog to the town’s animal shelter, and asked that it be euthanized. While there is no court order stating that this is mandatory, the shelter plans to put the dog down in roughly a week.
In general, Cowan declared, PETCO expects pet owners to be responsible for their pets. “It’s up to the pet parents to decide whether their pet is docile enough to come into the store.”