(The following appeared on Planet Moron on May 26, 2011.)
There are certain things you should never mix. Politics and religion. Oil and water. Anything with Red Bull (including Red Bull).
But if you were asked to pick just one combination that you would want to avoid at all costs, the answer is clear:
Young boys and dogs.
It’s just unnatural. What do they even have in common? Other than a high self-regard ungrounded in reality? “A boy and his dog” just doesn’t sound right.
That is why Planet Moron’s hometown of Arlington, Virginia, is exploring the possibility of banning children under the age of 8 from the County’s dog parks, and requiring older children to be accompanied by a parent.
According to Arlington Parks Department spokeswoman Susan Kalish:
“The key is safety.”
Indeed it is. As the chart below illustrates, the number of dog attacks that have been committed against children under the age of eight in Arlington dog parks is simply unacceptably high:
That’s right, Arlington County wants to institute a less-than-zero tolerance for dog attacks.
As Keith Fred, who helps sponsor a local dog park, points out, some dogs weigh more than small children and have knocked them over because no one can react quickly enough to prevent an incident.
Here at the Planet Moron household, we have one 25-pound toddler (aka Baby Moron), one 85-pound Chocolate Lab, and one 95-pound Yellow Lab. Prior to this story, we had no idea that getting knocked over by a dog was so devastating an incident for a small child that it might require banning Baby Moron from our house.
Mrs. Moron is NOT going to be pleased.
Once Baby Moron is old enough to understand, we’ll be sure to explain to him that he should be traumatized as the Moron dogs have knocked him over many times. As it is, he is apparently blissfully unaware of this indelible emotional scar, and hugs the dogs regularly.
Poor little guy, if only he saw the world the way the members of the Arlington County Parks Department did.
Of course, this new policy of ensuring that fewer than none children fall prey to dog attacks in Arlington dog parks still has to go through the normal procedures you’d expect in a society that values self governance and democratic ideals, such as getting the lawyers to approve it.
Oh, and the county plans “some sort of community input process,” you know, just a formality while they wait on the lawyers.
The only other option is to continue to leave it to individual parents to use their own judgment as to whether or not it would be safe for their child to enter a dog park given the circumstances at that particular time, including the number and size of the dogs, their level of play, the size of the park, the maturity and sensitivity of the child and any other number of individual circumstances that play into the decisions parents make every day regarding their childrens’ safety and well being.
But that’s just more of our anarcho-libertarian crazy talk. Clearly, given the fact that no child has been attacked in a dog park, we have no choice but to ban children from going to them.
Next up on Arlington’s agenda: A study looking into the possibility of eliminating the county’s many sidewalk cracks any one of which could be stepped on.
You know, just in case.