IL Mom Investigated After Allowing Child To Walk Their Dog Alone
A Wilmette mom and her family went through a humiliating and painful experience all because she let her daughter take their dog on a walk.
The Widen brought home a new dog under the agreement of everyone in the house agreeing to take care of it, including walking around the block. According to Chicago Tribune, Corey Widen (mom) didn't see the harm in letting her 8-year-old daughter walk the puppy around the block since she could see her daughter the entire time. Still, someone didn't like it and called the police.
Officers arrived at the Widen household with her daughter and the puppy explaining why they were and conducted a standard investigation. After learning everything was fine and the child was in no danger the police left and everything was fine, at least until Corey would learn DCFS would soon be involved. Apparently, the person reporting the "crime" because they thought the 8-year-old looked "younger than five."
In regards to law, according to Trib,
Like in many states, the law in Illinois is vague. It defines a neglected minor as a child younger than 14 left “without supervision for an unreasonable period of time without regard for the mental or physical health, safety or welfare of that minor.
But DCFS investigations are separate from criminal ones; even if police decide a parent has not broken the law, there could still be child welfare repercussions.
Corey told Chicago Tribune the whole process of interviewing their family (including the children) and their pediatrician was stressful and daunting but, ultimately, DCFS found no evidence of neglect. Her story isn't unique because of similar situations happening all over Chicago and its suburb.
As a parent, I see no harm in letting an 8-year-old walk the dog as long as a parent of guardian is aware and can see them. Perhaps the best quote from Corey Widen, the mom in this article, is, “Everyone needs to allow the parent to do what is best for their family. No one will dictate my parenting choices.”