Neighbor calls police after watching 8-year-old girl walk family dog on her own

Who hasn’t begged their parent for a dog?

An 8-year-old girl and her 17-year-old brother, from Wilmette, Illinois, finally got their mother, Corey Widen, to agree they could get a puppy, as long as they both agreed to share responsibilities. Easy enough.

What no one could have predicted is that something as simple as a walk around the block with their dog Marshmallow would result in an Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigation.

 

“For something like this to happen to me, there’s something really wrong,” Widen told the Chicago Tribune.

The 48-year-old mother said that her daughter, who is homeschooled, recently started walking the family dog on her own and took the dog out for a quick walk when a neighbor called the police.

The neighbor reportedly thought 8-year-old Dorothy was a 5-year-old girl outside by herself.

“I was like really scared,” Dorothy told CBS 2. “I saw the police just there, like the police’s car and I heard the like sirens going off.”

Police showed up at the Widen’s home, but found nothing to pursue.

Even though the police found no cause to continue their investigation, the concerned neighbor contacted Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

“Apparently whoever call the police didn’t think the police were a good enough judge of what was OK and not OK. Then they called DCFS. The police did not call DCFS,” Widen said.

According to NBC 5, the agency concluded their investigation because claims of mistreatment were “unfounded.”

Even though the police and DCFS investigations were dropped, Widen felt embarrassed.

She hired an attorney to clear her name and shared her experience on Facebook, where she discovered she wasn’t the only one who had been “mom-shamed.”

“You never know who did this to you and it turns your life upside down.” she said. “I’m a homeschooled mom and I’m always with my kids. You can accuse me of a lot of things, not supervising them, is not one of them. My entire life revolves around them.”

When is the right time to let your child be unsupervised?

Anne Marie Albano, a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University, told TODAY that allowing children to walk the dog when they are 8 or 9 years old is something that is appropriate for them when they are in a trusted area.

“The main thing that we have to bear in mind is that we are training our kids from early on to be independent adults.”

If you saw an unsupervised child walking their dog would you call the police? Share this article and let us how young is too young to walk a dog.

 

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