police called after child allowed to walk family dog

Crazy times -police called because 8 yr old walked her small dog alone

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These are crazy times we live in…moms and dads are criticized for being “helicopter” parents, while simultaneously being expected to watch their children 24/7. A bizarre situation recently happened in Wilmette, Illinois – a town which has been ranked as one of the top locations to raise a child because of low crime rates. According to multiple sources, a mother allowed her eight-year-old daughter to take the family dog (a small Maltese) on a walk around the block…alone (gasp!).

The authorities

The child’s mother, Corey Widen, told TODAY that the police were knocking at her door about 5 minutes after the little girl left for her walk – a neighbor had reported the situation. The police determined that nothing was amiss…but that wasn’t the end of the strange story. A few days later, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services contacted the family because the SAME neighbor had reported them to the protective agency.

Again, the situation was investigated and again, no wrong-doing was discovered. Widen is so upset that she thinks the person who called the authorities and child protective services should face some time of repercussion.

A professional weighs in

Anne Marie Albano, a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University, told TODAY that an 8 to 9 year old child being allowed to walk the family dog alone is appropriate – she stated:

“The main thing that we have to bear in mind is that we are training our kids from early on to be independent adults. Picking out their own clothes by age 4, walking the dog by age 8 or 9, these are appropriate things for them to do in a safe place around your home or neighborhood.”


What are your thoughts? Did the neighbor overstep his/her bounds? Is eight years of age too young to walk a block with a small dog? How are kids supposed to learn independence if they are not allowed to be independent…

(Image screenshot via NBC)

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6 replies
  1. Bunny Peters says:

    Wow!!!!! I think a chitchat with that neighbor is in order……. she has NO business reporting this woman and her family…….

    I would seriously consider litigation for harassment……

    Nothing wrong with allowing an 8 year old to walk the dog around the block. People do this in MY neighborhood all the time without ANY harassment…..

  2. maxiemom says:


    I was left alone with my brat of a little sister after school when I was 10 because I was being raised by a single mother (my father was sick and in the hospital a good deal of the time)!

    Babysitting by the time I was 12.

    And YES, I was certainly walking the dog at that child’s age!!

    I also know I walked home from school (which was on the other end of our small town) on more than one occasion and walked to the pool by myself at that age.

    The neighbor is not only a busybody, but a nutcase who needs to be brought up on some kind of charges herself.

  3. Barkley's Mom says:

    Good grief! an 8 year old child should be old enough to walk a small dog like this around the block, what is wrong with that POS neighbor? I don’t know what is wrong with people lately, sticking their nose in calling abuse where there is NONE. I’m all for reporting abuse if seen, but lets use some common sense when doing so!

  4. susispot says:

    At 8 I was walking to the stables, under bridges and down a river bottom to ride. The world was a lot safer then, but the kooks have been with us since the dawn of time. I bet the little dog would sound the alarm if the young lady were threatened. Education is key. Most kids now are very aware of “stranger danger”. The neighbor is a jerk.

  5. Pamela Garlisch says:

    All depends on the mentality of the 8 year old, some are ok, some are not. The two neighbors should have talked first and the neighbor that reported her might have come from Chicago which I won’t step foot in at any time of the day!


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