Question about animal cruelty

  1. What things do you see people doing when they are accused of animal cruelty? The reason I ask is that my son seems to be very rough and rowdy with our dog; he likes to wrestle around with him and sometimes he is to rough I think, but the dog just takes it and comes back for more. My ds also like to hold and cuddle on cats and kittens and is sometimes carries them around a lot. He isn't what I consider cruel with animals but just rowdy. He doesn't hit animals, set them on fire or anything like that so my question is, is this animal cruelty?

    Pam
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   elkpark
    When we talk about "animal cruelty" in child psych, we are usually referring to intentionally torturing them (mutilating them, setting them on fire, etc.). Not roughousing with the family pet ... The ASPCA or Humane Society probably defines "animal cruelty" a little differently, but what you are describing doesn't sound like something that would be of concern in the child psych world. Is it a large or small dog? Is the dog actually in any danger of being accidentally injured? Is the roughousing "good, clean fun" or your son taking out his anger or frustration on the dog? If not, I wouldn't be concerned ...
  4. by   lucianne
    I agree with elkpark, but would like to know how old your son is. Have a number of your pets ever disappeared? Do they ever have unexplained limps or injuries?
  5. by   Destinystar
    i own a 5 acre animal sanctuary. i have two boys 11 & 5. first of all i have the duty to protect my children from the animals. so the pony stays in her own pipe corral and the puppy is not allowed in my home. when the children go outside i supervise them. i also tie the puppy up when the children play outside because the puppy gets excited jumps on them and knocks them down. the animals and the children both do not have the judgement to know that they can harm one another. in these situations it is in everyones best interested to give everyone there own space, like dog runs, fenced off back yards, etc. when they do play together its your job to protect and train them both to play appropriatly. in my sanctuary it is never appropriate for dogs to jump on humans or for humans to behave like prey and encourage the dogs to run and chase them. i have seen kids eyes torn out of the sockets, & faces ripped open as a result of these things then the parents blame the animals and they wind up with me. if it ever comes down to it my kids come first and the animal goes. i had a wolf hybird that i could not train who knocked down the kids, so i gave her to a home of adults (men) that could handle the situation. in my opinion the wrestling with the dog should be off limits and you can teach your son how to pet the dog or to get the dog to chase a stick things that dont require physical contact. yes it takes a lot of time over a period of months. no your son is not cruel to the dog he just needs to be taught the correct way to play with the dog and the dog needs to be taught how to play with him.
    Quote from traumamama59
    what things do you see people doing when they are accused of animal cruelty? the reason i ask is that my son seems to be very rough and rowdy with our dog; he likes to wrestle around with him and sometimes he is to rough i think, but the dog just takes it and comes back for more. my ds also like to hold and cuddle on cats and kittens and is sometimes carries them around a lot. he isn't what i consider cruel with animals but just rowdy. he doesn't hit animals, set them on fire or anything like that so my question is, is this animal cruelty?

    pam
  6. by   MrsWampthang
    Quote from lucianne
    I agree with elkpark, but would like to know how old your son is. Have a number of your pets ever disappeared? Do they ever have unexplained limps or injuries?
    My son is 10 now, and no, I've never had animals that disappeared. My dog is a large dog so takes the rough housing without getting hurt. When I think my ds is being too rough, I will fuss at him. Bless the dog, he's never bit my ds or even growled in anger at him. He just comes back for more. He is a mixed breed so I never could get him to learn to sit or stay (I think the poor dog is a brick short, know what I mean?). I rescued him from the Humane Society as a puppy, and he did really well with his house training though. Anyway, as I stated in my original post, I don't think my ds is really cruel, just rough and rowdy as any normal boy his age is, hence why I won't get a small dog or cat. I don't think he would intentionally hurt it, but it might get hurt by him just playing with it.

    Pam
  7. by   Katnip
    I think the dog has more potential to harm your son than the other way around. If your son is too rough, the dog could turn and hurt him accidentally. Animals can't help it. Much as they love their humans, their instinct is to defend themselves.

    My golden bit me once. We were playing and I managed to get my hand in her mouth as she was closing it over what she thought was going to be a sock. It was very obvious she felt awful immediately. I only blame myself for that. It wasn't a terrible bite, didn't leave stitches, but it could have been much worse.

    As far as animal cruelty, I don't think that's an issue here. If the dog does not seem to suffer and doesn't try to avoid your son, it probably isn't a problem.
  8. by   Rapheal
    Sorry to be the devil's advocate here, but if you have to question yourself if it is animal cruelty- then it probally is the type of thing that should be discouraged. There is a difference between play time with an animal, and "rough" play. There should be no rough play. There is a good chance that the dog may become aggressive if this type of play continues. Stop it immediately before your son or your dog gets hurt. It is ingrained in dogs to elevate the status in the pack. The dog probally keeps coming back for more because he sees himself as achieving dominance over your son.

    Why not take your dog to obedience school? Have your son work with him and they can develop a more satisfying, less risky relationship. Have your son take the dog on daily walks after the dog has learned the heel command. Both of them can expend some energy doing this. As someone who has worked with and trained dogs I can assure you that you are playing with fire if you don't set limits on your son's behavior with this dog. I hope you do not take this as someone being harsh or trying to tell you that you what to do. I just have had experience with this type of thing when I volunteered for a rescue group and the outcome can be very bad.
  9. by   lucianne
    Oh my. I'm surprised someone else hasn't laid into you on this yet: just because a dog is mixed breed is no excuse not to train it. Mixed breeds are often (some will say ALWAYS) more intelligent than purebred dogs, which may actually be very poorly bred. My personal and limited experience is that smart dogs can be more difficult to train. Maybe your son would enjoy joining 4-H and learning to do obedience classes with the dog.
  10. by   EarthChild1130
    I wouldn't consider it animal cruelty, but I'd make sure I was supervising them both because they could hurt each other without meaning to...To be honest, I wouldn't encourage the behavior because of the potential for someone to be hurt. On the other hand, my husband plays VERY roughly with my Doberman, and she ADORES him...always running up to him for wrestling and whatever...with me she's a cuddler/protector. With him, it's play time! LOL I guess in a nutshell what I'm trying to say is, use your best judgment and you can't go wrong!

    I do agree with another post on here...mixed breed dogs are certainly capable of being trained, but not every training method works for every dog. I recommend obedience training for every dog regardless of size. My Doberman went through puppy and basic classes, and she's a true joy to have around. Good luck!
  11. by   hypnotic_nurse
    My mixed breed dog is the only smart one I have. The other two are as dumb as rocks (sweet and loving, but don't have a clue).
  12. by   kids
    I can understand asking. With all of the publicity about animal cruelty being a red flag in children it is a good thing to know what it is.

    Rough play is not cruelty unless the dog is being tormented. Your description doesn't sound like it is as the dog seeks out your child and your child is not intentionally inflicting injury on the dog. One thing you need to keep in mind is that as with all rough housing there is the potential for someone to get hurt accidently.

    There is nothing wrong with kids playing tag with the family dog as long as the dog contains NO wolf hybrid. I have been raising hybrids for almost 20 years. With very few exceptions they are NOT "normal" dogs and should not be treated as such.
  13. by   Fuzzy
    Does your county have a 4-H dog project? If so enroll your son if he is interested. That way your son and dog can build a good bond and the dog will get some training also. Your son will also learn more appropriate ways to play with the dog. In our county we offer obedience, agility, showmanship, and conformation. The kids get to show with off their dogs at the county and state fairs.
    Fuzzy
  14. by   Jay-Jay
    Dogs play a lot rougher than humans, especially large dogs. Just as an example, one day my German Shepherd and her pal, a mixed breed collie were tearing across the park, each holding opposite ends of a large stick. Brandy abruptly changed directions, and Tasha did a complete somersault, and the stick was wrenched from her mouth. I started towards her, sure she must be hurt, but within an eyeblink she was back on her feet, and resumed the chase.

    When I called her to me, I found her mouth was torn and bleeding from the stick!

    Dogs will let people know if the play is too rough or frightening to them. They will growl (they growl in play, but you can tell by the body language if the growl is in play or for real) or just go away and hide. If the dog comes back for more, he's all right with what your son is doing.

    HOWEVER, I own a book called "Childproofing Your Dog" by a well know trainer. In it he states: NEVER allow your dog to play unsupervised with your kids, no matter HOW well-trained it is. The unexpected can always happen. The kid accidentally does something to the dog that really hurts, and the dog retaliates. Those teeth are really sharp, and it only takes a few seconds for them to cause major damage. Better safe than sorry!

    Edited to add: just remembered the author of that book. His name is Brian Killcommon (not sure of spelling, though, and my books are packed away for a move...)

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