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d*s diversion: child-leash?


this is totally off topic but i'm pretty shocked after returning from my morning bagel and coffee. i was waiting for my bagel at la bagel delight and this woman walked in with three loud children. the smallest, a little girl maybe 6 or 7 years old, had a dog collar around her neck (with her name on the tag) with a real dog leash attached. for a second i was like, maybe she likes wearing it as a pretend game. then i saw her mother whip the leash and yank her over on it. people were shocked but no one said anything. then her brothers kept stepping on the leash and it would yank the little girl's neck and she would say "ouch!". maybe it's because i just read this ny times article, but i was shocked and didn't know what to do. does anyone know if this sort of thing is legal or has any precedence? it wasn't one of those "leashes" designed for kids, it was a real dog collar and leash and she was def being yanked forcefully by it. it just seemed cruel and unbelievably harsh. i'm just shocked, if anyone knows anything about this or if it's legal (i know it's probably none of my business anyway but that little girl looked like she was in pain from the collar yanking) i'd be most interested to know...



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh god! Does anyone know if it's legal?? This is awful, with her name on it? God!


8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never seen or heard anything like this - it sounds awful.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Funky Finds said...

this is insane! when my brother was little, he was wild. when we went to crowded places he would not stay w/my mom. she had a little harness thing on him that allowed you to attach the child to you by a string. but it was on his body & very soft...not like a dog leash around your neck!? odd.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But we are chastised, sued, blamed and worse, arrested when a child goes running into the street and gets nailed by a car. Either way, people are screwed. It might be equally dangerous to not have the child off the leash, especially to others. Don't get me wrong, I am not condoning nor chastising this sort of behavior, but we don't know the history of the children, we don't if indeed they have been struck by a vehicle in the past. Who knows, back to design...

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My cildren are over 25 now, but when they were young in the UK is was considered irresponsible to not have what were called reins on a very young child in crowded or dangerous situations (eg by a busy road) These reins fitted aa child round the waist and over the shoulders, much like a child's buggy harness, with a long loop attached one end on each side (hence the reins). More recently, a band can also be attached to the wrist.

The mere thought that anybody would think it safe or appropriate to put a collar and leash on a child fills me with horror. It sounds like this is being used as a means of control by pain rather than protection. She could easily be strangled if it got caught or trapped in something.

IMNSHO there is no justification for such a dangerous habit.

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are correct there are better means than a collar but maybe this lady needs a little education on alternatives before we cast stones or judge her. Maybe she doesn't know there are better alternatives out there. We don't know anything about her. She simply might not that smart to think of other alternatives and fears for the safety of her child but not considering her solution may be detrimental to her child. We live in such a Lynch Mob society where we are quick to judge others but when we infringe on the same things we protest, we give ourselves a little padding and justify our means when it invloves ourselves. You certainly wouldn't hurt a dog or cat, or any animal, but it's ok for the company that supplies meat on your table to do so? Those beautiful leather boots or shoes you have for your vanity at the expense of a dying animal? If you knew the actual conditions, would you actually give up these things? Didn't think so.

SO, The Lady with Three Children needs proper education on alternatives. Whoever chooses to dispense this information is debatable. Why not the ones who find it god awful or deporable volunteer to educate her?

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, that child was in enough danger for it to be your business. a harness is okay, although weird for a kid that old, but a neck leash is never okay.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a neck collar is NOT the same as a child leash (harness or wrist), and the fact that the mom was yanking on it shows that it was about more than keeping the girl from wandering off.

I'd say it was worth reporting to child services, if only to make sure that things weren't even worse at home.

10:20 AM  
Blogger design*sponge said...

i think that's a whole heap of judgement and assumption placed on us, too. i personally don't do any of those things you just mentioned, nor do i think it's ok for anyone to NOT consider where their food, clothing, etc come from. i personally don't really care whether or not the woman needs to be educated, i was concerned for the child who seemed like the one who needed to be protected. if we're going to view animals (as your post did) as equally helpless perhaps we should consider what's best for the weaker party, the little girl.


10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just came back to say what kim said--report it to the police. i'm sure la bagel delight has security cameras, and if you called them about it, they might save the footage. you lose nothing except a little time, and there might be much to gain.

10:22 AM  
Blogger design*sponge said...

i feel weird turning someone in that i don't know and i don't feel right about it, but does anyone know if there are any legal ramifications for people who put their children in dog leashes and yank them? it was odd enough that she had the collar on, but to see her mom yank it and to see her mom be ok with the fact that the brothers were stepping on it and sort of choking her was heartbreaking.


10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An actual dog collar? That does sound bizarre. It seems more like an inappropriate form of discipline than an attempt to keep the child safe. Hopefully somebody who saw this reported it so it can be investigated more thoroughly.
The dog collar/leash is wrong, but I think the kid harnesses are brilliant. The first time I saw one on a child I was mortified, but they keep children safe and prevent them from getting lost or, worse, abducted. They also keep kids from behaving like complete brats. I can't tell you how many times I have been at a nice restaurant and some little kid has wandered over to my table and just stared or started talking to me. Then the parents eventually come get their kid and laugh "oh, isn't that cute?" No, it's not cute, I was eating a romantic meal with my husband. Why don't you do your job as a parent and keep your idiot spawn by your side instead of bothering me.
So maybe ultimately the harnesses are for parents who are too busy juggling their shopping bags and cell phones and palm pilots to properly watch their offspring. The dog collar though - inexcusable.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as for legality, I'm guessing there wouldn't be something on the books saying "no dog collars"...I haven't heard or seen enough of it to think it would have been singled out for a law...but that it might qualify under the umbrella of child endangerment.

In terms of "turning someone in," it would be up to child services to decide if there was a problem...they won't take the kid away on your say-so. But if you don't feel comfortable doing that, next time you could try talking to the mother, e.g., "oh whoops, I don't know if you saw, but your boys are stepping on that leash" or "my friend has a leash that attaches to her kid's wrist...I think that might be safer."

You'll probably get yelled at, but it might give you a better sense about whether the situation is worth reporting.

It sounds like a rough situation to handle...I don't mean to make it sound simple!

10:43 AM  
Blogger design*sponge said...


i'm with you. i think the next time i see her i might say something, but maybe only if the same thing is happening with her yanking and the boys stepping on it. it's one of those "i know it's not my business" situations but that little girl was being jerked around by her neck by her own family. it was awful. it was like she was the family pet or something. her brothers kept laughing when they stepped on the leash.

it was just so sad.


10:45 AM  
Blogger Left Palate said...

It's not okay to restrain your child by the NECK. Any mother of normal intelligence should know that, and if this mother is mentally disabled someone should be making sure she can take care of her kids anyway. She might be wearied, harried, and frustrated, but this child is at risk--no question about it. In NY, any social worker, teacher or medical professional is a "mandated reporter" and must report such treatment even if they don't know the parents. You are not a mandated reporter, I know, but when it comes to kids in our communities I feel like we are all responsible. Don't assume that someone who knows her will report her, do it yourself. If you see her again call the police right then and there. You are not doing her family or that girl any favors by worrying about her mother's privacy. Sorry to sound harsh but with all the child abuse cases that have been recently publicized in NYC, it's become clear that we need to ALWAYS take action when there is risk of child abuse.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, I don't think we are the right group to influence your decision. You were there, we weren't. Everyones lens into the world is different. I would talk to people who may be part of her daily life, like the Bagel Shop. It's not neccessarily about capturing the moment, but caputring her role as a parent. We all have our bad days and take it out on various animate and inanimate objects whether it's physical or verbal. NOT to be confused with abusive aggression. Just remember, we are human and we go through the emotions. It is better to err on the side of caution but if you report her, raise it as a concern and not as a declaration of absolute guilt. As thinkwoman said, you have nothing to lose but she may have everything to lose because she doesn't know the ramifications of her actions nor does she know what ehr alternatives are. Yes, some will counter then she is not fit to be a parent, but that's a whole different debate and the fact is, she is a parent now. It astonishes me to see how vindictive people are. I know it's because we care for our kids, but the amount of venom is quite scary. I love children, but I also have friends in the Police Dept who have made arrests and separated families because people witness an isolated incident, not enough to warrant the action taken against them and the officers have no choice but to do as instructed even though they know the history of the family or their heart tells them otherwise. D*S, I think your heart knows what it wants to do but your mind is telling you otherwise. If you truly care, then do a little investigation before you potentially separate this family.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Left Palate said...

I just commented but I also wanted to include this link. http://jcca.ujcfedweb.org/content_display.html?ArticleID=175334
It's the Jewish Child Care Association's Child Abuse Alert. If anyone is concerned about child abuse and wants to know what to look for and how to report it, please check it out. (FYI: I work for JCCA, but not in a child care/social work capacity.)

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the education to the alternatives start NOW. children are not possesions psuedo slaves or allowed to be yanked around by the neck. This is child abuse period end of discussion. the police and child welfare services should have been called, if hte mother after a brief chat like five seconds didn't explain what the hell was going on.
Next time Say something. you may save a child from a life in hell.

11:01 AM  
Blogger design*sponge said...


true words, but let me clarify i'm by no means trying to split up a family, nor do i have the power to. i also would never want to do that.

i was merely asking if anyone knew legal precedence for this. i didn't know if it was acceptable to put a leash on your child's neck. i really hope you don't think i'm some sort of makeshift vigalante who wants to break up families. i was really concerned for the girl and left wondering, should i have said something to that woman? i wouldn't call any authorities- i don't even know who she is. my next step will be, if i see it again, to say something to her and then ask the bagel shop if it happens a lot.

but good lord the last thing i want to do is break up a family. eesh. i just don't want to see a little girl get yanked around by her neck with a dog collar.


11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, what I meant by education is providing the parent with alternative means to the collar. As to how she receives this information, maybe since d*s witnessed it, she could call it in and explain what she saw and suggest they pay her a visit with brochures or print outs of the harness solution. I know every single one of you have seen or know someone personally who has spanked their child with varying degrees of physicality. Now is this consider "child abuse period end of discussion"? I hope it is not end of discussion but the beginning of a discussion such as this one where someone can pull her back so she can see from a distance what she is doing. Someone needs to help both the child and the mother, together as a family. It wold probably break my heart too to see the little girl in distress. I would say something to her knowing the parent would probably bark at me for getting into her business. Agression is met with agression, as human beings, we are naturally defensive so she will probably snap back. I suggest you be pleasant with her and even if she barks at you, keep your composure.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

grace, please report this to the police. they can decide if it's legal or not. i heard my neighbor slap his girlfriend one night. i wasn't sure what to do, and learned the next day that you should call the police whenever you see or hear someone being harmed or put in danger. that poor girls neck is certainly in danger of being injured. you wouldn't be causing any more harm to her by reporting this. sorry you had to start your day by seeing this.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgot to add: Lets be serious, you don't honestly believe she is making her child out to be a "possession or psuedo slaves", do you? Come on, think. The collar (not a good choice) but it shows she is trying to prevent some sort of harm we don't know about from happening and the lack of discpline tells me she is stressed and probably needs help. Not everyone has friends or family in the immediate area so she may be going through difficult times. Perhaps she needs help from a social but arresting her solves what?

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Report it to the police and then what? Why are you so bent on inlvolving the police when all she might need is a visit from a social worker, someone to talk to? I firmly believe we can solve most things diplomatically and through education and rehabilitation barring the isolated % of the world who are lost causes. Again, from what d*s has described, it sounds like she has a lot happening and making bad decisions. Welcome to parenting.

You actually had to "Learn" to call the police when you see harm or danger? Jeez, Grace do you see know how everyone is different and that we all don't know things we consider obvious? You're inability to make a decisive decision means you don't feel there is immediate danger to the child but that something isn't right or seeing a device dedicated to a dog strapped to a child shocked you. If you felt the child was in immediate or even in future danger, you would have contacted someone. If you do feel that way, then do so. You sound more rational than some of the people here so I trust you would be making the right decision.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


if this is bothering you enough to spend a few hours debating it on your blog, i think you need to at least call child services and ask them what their opinion on it is. it is their job to know what to do to take children out of abusive situations, but i feel that it is our duty as concerned citizens to raise a flag and speak for those who might not be able to speak for themselves. at the very least, please call a hotline and ask what to do. as for your concerns about her mother's privacy--she was in a public place! and i personally believe that the child's safety is paramount.

11:52 AM  
Blogger design*sponge said...


no, i didn't need to "learn" to call the police. i didn't want to call the police ever. child welfare was the only group i considered looking into if i saw this again and spoke to the woman but the behavior continued. i think it's horribly irresponsible to call anyone without knowing the facts. i'm not a mom, maybe you're allowed to have the leash on and my reaction was just to her yanking on it. so yes, those of us who aren't parents don't know everything and do need to ask for the general consensus. i'm 25, i know squat about parenting other than that gut response that something seels horribly wrong there.


11:56 AM  
Blogger design*sponge said...

good timing anon,

ok so i just got off the phone with nyc child protection agency. they were EXTREMELY nice and said that they get calls like this a lot and that NO that behavior is not acceptable. but they did think i should mention it to her if i saw it again, as politely as possible (she did say "get ready for an earfull") but she said that that sort of behavior should not be written off as a "bad day" or as protecting a child when there were "child appropriate" harnesses on the market.

so, the official response is: no, it's not ok but yes, i should say something to her first before anyone takes the next step. she was particularly disturbed by the fact that the girl hd a personalized dog nametag for the leash. eesh. she also said that there is a way to mention to welfare authorities that there might be an issue but that you're not trying to get them in trouble or get them arrested, but merely want to make sure the parents are educated about proper behavior for child restraint.

anyway, official response, so there we go!


12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My apologies, I wasn't directing the "Learning" to call the police at you. I was replying to 12:21PM Anonymous. Again, you seem very intuitive and smart (and have good taste). I think you know what you want to do. Our heart rarely fails us unless it includes someone who has broken it.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though I don't support the practice, here is an interesting article about it:


12:13 PM  
Blogger design*sponge said...


sorry, ac just talked to me and was like, i don't think she's talking about you, grace. whoops, sorry i thought you making fun of me for having to "learn" to call the cops. my bad ;)


12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good work calling the child protection agency. It is so hard to be the one seeing something happening and not knowing what to do. We have so many societal issues about not butting in...but...

I worked at a daycare center when I was in high school. We worked with a lot of troubled families and had to call Family Services a number of times. It was not easy to make the decision to call, but the thing is, people really do screwy things to their kids, things we could never imagine (which is part of the reason we go "there HAS to be a logical explanation for this).

Yea, she will give you an earful, no doubt. But you need to be able to sleep at night...

And it's B.S. that we are "screwed either way". There are right and wrong ways of protecting a child from harm. To hell with educating to alternatives, this is abusive. Period. For some things there is no margin of understanding.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and p.s....those people that were keeping their kids in cages said they were doing it for the children's protection too...

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, AC was partically correct! "She" is actually a "he"...

Glad to hear you called an agency. Yes, a childs safety is paramount but their are alternative means to solving issues like these than involving drastic action, just like there is an alternative to the collar. I guess maybe I'm just put off by everyone feeling the need to sue or use force as a means to an end when most things can be solved if we learn how to communicate with each other.
The Shemale.

12:28 PM  
Blogger design*sponge said...

thanks to everyone for their two cents, it's been an eye opening day.

what i'm taking away from all of this is that it's always a good idea to find out all the facts before you do anything. i'm glad i didn't snap at that woman or say anything the first time. i'm hoping that i never see it again, but if it does happen perhaps i'll ask the bagel place if they've seen it before. the last thing i'd ever want to do is get anyone in trouble or heaven forbid get involved in anyone's family life, but that scene was just so upsetting this morning that it inspired me to call the agency, get educated and make me feel better about sticking up for a child if it ever (heaven forbid) happens again.

thanks to the nyc child protection agency for taking the time to explain their views on the leash issue.


12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey... looks like this thread is finished but just one note. I definitely think you should speak up when you see somthing that disturbs you, even if it's just to find out more information. A humorous "Hey, your kid's on a leash, is she pretending to be a dog?" and a response from the mother or brothers would have done a lot to illuminate the situation and help you make your mind about whether this was a case of child fantasy roleplay gone bad, a bizarre but well-meant punishment, or real abuse. Or whatever. (I'm horrified that the mom didn't stop the stepping on the leash, however... that tends to tip the story, in my opinion.) And do talk to the La Bagel people, if only to put your own mind at rest.

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Carolyn, no one has spoken to this lady. If education is not your solution, what would you do? You praise Grace for calling the child protection agency but at the same time, you say the hell with educating the parent. What do you think the CPA is going to do, immediately throw her jail? No, they will talk and educate her first and then if all else fails and nothing has changed, then appropriate action will be taken. George Bush employs the no margin of understanding mantra and threw diplomacy out in favor of force. Look where the world is now.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a little confused about how many anonymouses are weighing in...(anonymi? anonymousi?)

anyway, Grace, good for you. You recognized that this was not a typical child harness situation (neck yanking just isn't the same as a harness), and got information so you will have a better idea of what to do if you observe this kind of thing again. It's a hard thing to carry around with you, wondering if you should have intervened in a situation or not.

As for the debate, I don't think it's all or nothing (ignore abused children or send parents you don't agree with to jail). The info from Grace's call to CPA confirms that there are ways to try to help without using a sledgehammer.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you know the collar had the kids name on it? Could it have just been an actual dog's collar that the lady used in a panic because the kid was behaving poorly and she didn't know of a better way to deal with it?

1:34 PM  
Blogger design*sponge said...

the collar said "ashley" and the woman kept yelling at her "shut up, ashley!"



2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would only suggest talking to the police in such a situation because as far as I know there aren't Child Protective Services (Family protective services, whatever) out on the street to turn to in a concerning situation when you don't know the person nor where he/she lives. Just alerting the police is not necessarily going to get the person arrested unless they are doing something to be arrested for, in which case ... they deserve it????

I've just found that in these situations with crazy people, getting directly involved could be misconstrued and not appreciated. Police are trained to deal with these situations, and a sassy little 25-year old telling you how to raise your kid when you're not on the ball enough to realize that a dog-collar isn't the answer is probably not going to lead to serene living happily ever after.

It's not an easy situation, but I imagine the woman didn't make it unscathed through the day...


3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This anonymous has been more responsible for the long winded messages but I can see why it is such a sensitive issue. I never intended to suggest an all or nothing approach. I was merely inferring to investigate the matter before you get yourself into something we don't know anything about. And in this case, Grace did investigate the matter properly. Even if the child was behaving poorly, there is no excuse for the collar. Hence, my suggestion to EDUCATE her (the parent), to talk to a social worker, not to have her head on a platter as punishment as a lot of people are in some form suggesting. How many people have been too bothered or used to seeing children not strapped to the seats in a car to say something? This is equally, if not more dangerous and we know the childs life is in danger but does it make them bad parents? I have friends who have children and on rare occasions, the child has unbuckled himself or she simply forgets. Does this make her a bad parent? No. Others might think so, but I know a million other ways they are excellent parents. I admire you for saying something. I believe most people including most of us here, especially those who say they would have called the police, would not have called or been bothered. They would make a face and be initially disgusted and then be on their merry way so cheers to you Grace.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that poor baby. Other than pain and humiliation, I don't see the point of doing that to a child. There are a dozen different ways she could have attached a lead to the child without using a dog's collar. And the fact that she had her name on a tag, just further proves that it is a device for humilation and dominance.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grace, please speak up and make a call to some sort of authority if you see this again. No more research is necessary from your end. It is unacceptable, and people with training once alerted by your call will do the research and appropriate follow-up. I appreicate your caution/worry, but you don't need all the facts to know that this is not OK.

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i normally don't take the time to comment cuz i don't know you and you don't know me, but since i'm a new mother to an almost 2 year old, i've become even more sensitive to child issues such as this one so i feel compelled to comment. first, if you felt remotely uncomfortable for the child's sake, you should have said something to the mother, even at the risk of getting an earful and being told it's none of your business. (my thought is if the mother took her child out in public in a certain way such as on a dog collar, she is opening herself up to public opinion on it.) however, if you chose not to say anything to the mother but obviously are still bothered by the situation and have concerns about it, rather than ask the general public such as your blog readers who are not legally educated on such matters, you should have contacted any attorney friend/contact or child services for their advice right away to know what is appropriate and what you could/should do. Your gut is your inner moral compass and it was telling you something was not right and so if you're going to act on it properly, do so to the right avenues. Don't waste your time and energy asking advice from strangers or from people you don't know whether they have legal expertise on such matters.

The child could be abused, the child could not be abused. Either way, you've missed the immediate opportunities to make things better if in fact she is abused because you didn't say anything and neither did you seek proper educated/legal advice right away.

btw, why are there so many anonymous commentors with so much to say?

7:24 PM  
Blogger JRS said...

Can we get a post on alternative designer child leashs?

First off... HISTORY: http://histclo.com/style/other/teath.html

other products...

Electronic!(not shocking!) Panda!


Hmm... A designsponge design contest for an ethical child harness/leash/tether???

this is tongue in cheek btw...

7:53 PM  
Blogger Susan Schwake said...

this is shocking to say the very least. the harness thing I have seen in the past, but this is a mess and should be addressed. horrible!

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"i normally don't take the time to comment cuz i don't know you and you don't know me, but since i'm a new mother to an almost 2 year old..."

Did anybody else find this utterly ridiculous or just me? You don't comment because you don't know the person nor does the other person know you. Proving the vanity of some peoples existance and the selfishness that you can ONLY respond because you have a child. Well, I don't have a child and I felt the same compassion and worry for the child, the mother, and for Grace who is apparently worried and never been in a situation like this so this is new to her, just like motherhood is new to you. You said Grace should have done this or that, but are you not the same person who only felt compelled to write because you recently became a mother and recently became more sensitive to child issues? Grace did the right thing regradless. Sometimes when we are scared or caught in an off guard moment, we freeze and don't know what to do and if you say it has never happened to you, then you should run for President.

"btw, why are there so many anonymous commentors with so much to say?"

Because some of us don't need to have a child to be concerned. Some of don't need to feel compelled only because we can directly relate. It's called helping someone is in apparent distress. I have a feeling the bloggers here have become a sort of second family to Grace and if she feels comfortable speaking with her second family, then let her be. I would rather ask the question, why are there so many people with so little to say?
Movements, ideas, WARS, PEACE, protest, are all generated through words and communication regardless of your relationship to others. Does it honestly matter whether we are anonymous or not? Because your name Anita shows up in the comments does not make it more credible. It's the content.

I still think Grace did the right thing regardless of immediacy or she waited. She still spoke up and that's all that matters. Scolding someone for not doing something properly will only put them off the next time they encounter the same situation. They think of the harsh and negative comments such as Anitas and remember the negativity associated with it when instead, she could be motivated by the praise. I am a man, and the way Anita responded was more like how a man would respond to his girlfriend/wife doing something wrong instead of suggesting a better alternative.


9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my god, i came across a blog that could sort this one out...

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Contacting child services to educate yourself = a good thing.
Attempting to educate a stranger about their child = not a good thing. Raise your hand if you think it would be well-received or even "heard"?

I once had a teacher address this subject..how to deal with parents in public when they are doing something you don't feel is right. She suggested that you start with the "I know that you must be having a rough day and that going out with kids is difficult but..." approach, so you aren't immediately getting the person's hackles up and that you are sympathetic to them. I still don't think anyone wants to hear how to raise their kids, but at least it's an acknowledgement that someone out in public that thinks something is askew.

And 'anonymous', the one that felt the need to make a George Bush parallel (can Hitler comparisons be far behind?), if a private person feels compelled to let the person know what they are doing is not viewed as 'right' that's one thing, but education is for the authorities (CPS). I dealt with enough parents at the daycare center to know that they are not very open to being "educated" about their parenting, unless they _had to be_ by CPS.

P.S. You can post your name without joining blogger so you don't have to appear as 'anonymous'.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grace, I'm glad you were concerned. I am coming away from this with a different conclusion than you did though--I would DEFINITELY say something or call CPS immediately. I enjoy your blog a lot, so I don't mean to pass judgement on you, but I think the fact that this clearly wasn't a child harness, and there was a nametag and wasn't a game, and her brothers were allowed to harrass her were all HUGE red flags.

I don't think we can assume the mother was trying to keep her from harm. In fact, it sounds to me like it was psychological abuse that was edging into physical (with the yanking and the brothers). Good God, isn't it better to err on the side of protecting the child instead of protecting the parent?

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi -

I just did some quick research on the internet to try and find anything related to leashing children. Since I believe this is a relatively new practice with parents (as someone who grew up in the 70's / 80's, myself, along with my sister never required a leash of any sort :), there was nothing to be found in terms of this being discouraged. As a matter of fact, I found much information that harnessing your child was actually encouraged! I really find it humorous and ridiculous every time I see a child harnessed. I think it's really just laziness on the parent's part. I mean, you can't even control your kid?

I would say that the police won't be able to do much without some evidence of child abuse. So maybe it's just one of those wait and see situations. And I don't think you have an obligation to do anything on behalf of anyone that you don't know. Just do what feels right. Also, we can all wait for the tell all book that will come out from the dog collared child in 10 years.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. It's like each Anonymous is more sanctimonious than the last. Unreal.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, excepting the last Anonymous, who said, "Good God, isn't it better to err on the side of protecting the child instead of protecting the parent?" Exactly! This whole "Maybe she had a bad day; I'm sure she's still a really good parent! You don't know anything about her so how dare you make judgements" thing is such B.S. I don't want children around parents who aren't smart enough to realize that they can't keep their kids on PERSONALIZED LEASHES while their siblings abuse them. It wasn't just a bad day, unless you think she bought the leash and had it personalized that very morning before she went into the bagel store.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ick. Too bad for the kid. I'd like to speak to her sibblings in 10 years to see how they're doing socially...But why don't people feel outraged like this for the pets (mainly dogs) that wind up getting these collars put on them? Why not a harness?

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grace: I am a lawyer in NYC and without a doubt, if you see this woman again, I would advise you NOT to approach her and educate her as to the way to parent her child. It is unequivocally not your place to do that. However, it IS your responsibility to alert the authorities to something that you see amiss. I am concerned that you view calling the police with such hesitance. The police are there as a branch to other authorities. They can, with more haste, contact DSS and get the ball rolling. You are not breaking up a family, you are just alerting the "man" as to something that just does not seem right to you. You can call 311 and ask to be put intouch with your local precinct or you can even call 911 and explain to the operator that this is not an emergency, but something that you think the police should take notice of. The NYTimes magazine had an interesting article this past week about child protection and it is clear that ONE phonecall does not have the ability to break up a family. I would encourage you as a lawyer and a parent to be an educated observerer and contact the police. You are not threatening anything by taking this stance, you mau just be protecting a child. And for the record, it can without a doubt be proven that leashing a child is abuse.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think putting a dog collar on a child, marking it with a name tag and telling a child to "shut up" is abuse. I own 2 dogs and I would never consider yelling at them and telling them to shup up when they bark. I very rarely have collars on them, because I feel it's uncomfortable for them. I am mortified at the thought that a mother would do this to her own child. I am even more preturbed that there was a coffee shop full of people and no one said anything. The collar, the yanking, the name tag conjures up so many disturbing images for me - this woman should be reported.

It's an extremely inhumane way to treat any living creature, I can only imagine how miserable the little girl, Ashley, must be when she is treated that way. This treatement to the little girl is also teaching the 2 other children a very poor example in regards to how you treat other people, not to mention the lack of respect towards their own sister and later on in life women in general.

If we who know better don't stand up for the innocent and those that don't have a strong voice then who will.


10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So much venom in here. It's like if you think differently, whether it's right or wrong, people take verbal jabs at you in a condesending manner. I know it is a sensitive subject, but all the rage seems unnecessary. If you don't agree with someone, fine. Make your point and move along. You know as well as I do if you are right or wrong, people are still going to believe what they believe, leading me to this:

Internet fighting is like the special olympics, even if you win, you are still retarded.

Before I part, I'll leave you with this. We are all humans. We were born to make mistakes. Raise you hands if you never made a mistake in your life. Take a look back into your life. Haven't you ever done anything you knew was wrong or felt shameful for? Sometimes our moral compasses get screwy but with mistakes and experience, we right ourselves in the proper direction. You have no idea the kind of life I had. I was a parents worst nightmare even though I was raised to the best of my parents ability and thats why I love, respect and adore them beyond calculation today. I turned out fine, if not better with a great design job and my own place in Soho. Parents are not the superheros we wish them to be. They have two arms, two legs, one brain and a heavy heart. I agree that Grace should have contacted somebody, and she did (good for you) but for those who say harnesses is a sign of laziness on the part of parents obviously has never had a child. Maria, if all children were born the same way, I would agree with you, but some children require more attention that others. With additional children, the responsibility becomes exponentially higher as does the risk of making mistakes and accidents. I don't think the comparisons to Hitler are very far off in this room as I truly believe most in this thread would probably cast stones at those who think, do or believe differently than they do. It's quite scary. The irony is we live in a society of those who talk the talk, but don't walk the walk. I overheard a conversation on the train the other day about the man getting sawed in the subway incident. And I quote "man, I would have grabbed that f*cker and stuck that sh*t in his face". Right.

Most people here would not have contacted anybody let alone CPS so once again, you've done a good deed Grace. A coffee shop full of people and no one said a thing because we live in a crazy world where anything can happen and people fear for their safety and as most have stated, the parent will most likely react defensively. Critquing someones parenting in a public place will never amount to anything unless you are a person of offical authority that can officially investigate the matter and do something about it if there are improper activities happening. I know as you are cringing as your receive some of these messages but it shows you why this world is at war with each other. Good luck Grace.

anonymously known as ANONYMOUS

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It COULD also be that the child insists on wearing it and the parent's jerking could be annoyance at her insistence at doing something the parent sees as humiliating despite the fact that her brothers are GOING to step on it because they do every single time, etc., etc. The fact that it's personalized makes me susicious that this is the case.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i do not mean to be disrespectful, but this is a 6 or 7 year old child. When did a 6 or 7 year old become obdurate enough to force her parent to allow her wear a leash despite an acknowledged humilation? I mean COME ON! While it may be hard to regulate a tween or more likely a teen, a 6 year old child is not a formidible enough force to substiantiate your argument. Yeesh.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, my god!!
I can't even believe that some people even put the chance of a 6-7 year old wearing a leach or a harness...
Either way is humiliating and an abuse.
I am a mother and I can tell you that these parents use the leach as a way to pay less attention to their kids. It is a lot easier to use a leach and yank it than teach them to behave and to pay attention to what goes around them.
There is NO excuse. Your children are not your entertainment nor your property -your job is to prepare them for the world.
As for the doubt about reporting this or not... I must admit that I really wouldn't know what to do. I expect parents to treat their children as rational persons, not animals...

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sponge - I think you need to up your quotient of "it takes a village". You should have done SOMETHING. But, too late for that one -- please, please, don't ever just walk away from a situation again.

I've spoken up numerous times to parents. It's never appreciated, but I try to be polite, and hope the parent thinks about what I;ve said.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The situation is so bizarre that it sounds like a set-up! Every once in a while, a tv news magazine will stage an incident (a couple fighting, a child alone on the street, etc.) to capture how many passersby 1) notice, 2) notice but say nothing, and 3) step in to inquire what the hell is going on. That's what this sounds like, only far more extreme: sounds like a situation that couldn't possibly be ignored, and yet...

I hope you'll update us if anything else happens.

3:26 PM  

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