Mom Investigated By Child Services For Letting 8-Year-Old Walk The Dog Alone


This is not the kind of story iHeartDogs typically covers. In fact, it doesn’t have much to do with dogs at all. Rather, it is about society, families, and how something once considered mundane can now spark a legal battle.

8-year-old Dorothy Widen recently began taking her dog, Marshmallow for walks around the block in the upscale Chicago suburb of Wilmette, Illinois.

Screenshot via CBS News

Although Marshmallow is small enough for Dorothy to handle, and the pair walk in broad daylight, one neighbor was concerned enough to contact police and the Department of Child & Family Services.

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

The officer who responded to the neighbor’s call left the Widen home without filing a report, but DCFS launched an investigation. Apparently, the caller reported a “child five-years-old or younger was outside unattended,” raising the agency’s concern.

Widen contacted an attorney, and the matter was resolved in under two weeks with no further action taken against the family. However, Widen was left confused and says she feels “mom-shamed” by the experience.

“You never know who did this to you and it turns your life upside down.” she said. “I’m a homeschool 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.”

The Widens decided to come forward with their story on behalf of other mothers who may face similar scrutiny. Despite multiple attempts by CBS to contact DCFS, they never received a statement or explanation of their actions.

As for Dorothy, she hopes to continue taking solo walks with Marshmallow.

What do you make of this story? Do you believe children Dorothy’s age should be allowed to walk their dogs without an adult? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

H/T & Featured Image via CBS News

Tags: child safety, childhood dog, children, walking the dog

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