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I would never have thought ... !
The officers just left the house. They are filing a police report and talking to the prosecutor tomorrow when they will give me a call...
Dalton has never hurt an animal before. He has not been aggressive with children in a long time. Evidently he was walking through the neighborhood, playing or looking for people to play with this afternoon. He had a wooden gun that Gene allowed him to get at a garage sale this past weekend. We have never allowed a gun before, and I did not want this one, but his Daddy thought he was ready, he has been behaving better with toys and has been borrowing neighbor kids guns to play with.
The neighbotrs have a little black dog, notmore than a furball. They chain it in the front lawn to do it's business. This dog is not friendly with children and barks a lot. Dalton has not approached this animal in well over a year to try to pet it. I have no clue what possessed him to approach the dog. Evidently he tried to pet the dog, the dog probably snapped at him and he reacted in fright. The wooden rifle was in his hand and he hit the dog once, it is dead.
He was poopy and had come inside. We were trying to get him cleaned up when the neighbor came over and told Gene Dalton had been seen hitting the dog with something "Plastic".
He did not tell anyone what he had done. he put the gun in our bush by the door. He often hides his toys there, his special toys... for safekeeping, and sometimes, he will put toys there if he has broken the rules... I know he knew he should not have hit the dog, but had done so in fear, and he hid the gun. However this is the same spot he has been putting it lately, so who knows...
Dalton shuts down verbally when upset, and was already upset over a bath, but he admitted to hitting the dog with "I didn't mean to" when we told him what the neighbor had said and asked him if he did. He has NEVER done anything like this, I had no idea to look for this behavior. Needless to say, I cannot let him roam or play unsupervised. We had been letting him play on his own.
We are likely going to have CPS here, and heaven knows. This is the first time anything ike this has happened. However, the office who came is the same one who had come out with my David when he was so unstable.
Dalton did have an incident with children down the street over a year ago. The group of children over there had been making fun of him, not talking to him very nice, calling him names and telling him to leave. I don't know what all happened exactly. The mother had come to my door because Dalton had pushed her youngest off his bike, and all the kids had followed her. they were standing in a row at the front of our yard on the sidewalk, and Dalton still upset and being confronted, ran toward them, and smacked each of them once before I could get to him. I was one step behind him. I had to grab and restrain him in front of this mother.
A time later the father came to my door fuming aggressive, explosive and threatening to have Dalton removed from my house if he ever toughed his daughter again. He was wearing a t-shirt with a sherrif star on it, and was very loudly insistant that he be allowed to talk to Dalton, He would not accept any explanation of Dalton's handicap, I explained that Dalton knew what he did was wrong but would be incapable of talking to him, especially with the threatening.
Dalton was hiding behind the door of the house while I was on the step.
Later I went to the man's house and spoke to him telling him I did not appreciate the aggressive threats in front of my children. That I understood the concern and would make sure he did not play there again and explained Dalton's issues. It has been over a year ago and Dalton does not go there anymore, there has not been another incident.
Evidently this guy listens to a scanner. As the police drove up to the house, this guy approched them with "Which one was it the big boy or the small one?" Then proceded to tell them that Dalton has "Pounded" his son!
I will handle whatever comes my way... BUt it seems like it never ends!
Needing comfort here.
Re: the laws, this is a misdemeanor charge. Cruelty to animals. Re: the dog being in front, I have no idea why they did not use the back yard, but as I said, everyone avoids the dog when in the front, I have no clue why Dalton thought to pet it, except, he is more impulsive than usual lately, which is why we added Zonegran two weeks ago...
I know they mean business here in IN. I think Dalton's situation is obviously different, but there was a 11 year old girl taken from her parents and arrested several months ago for swinging a kitten by a rope around its neck. She showed no remorse... Different situation, but scary.
The original officer was very compassionate. I have to hope that this will work out ok. The 2nd officer was more abrupt, saying he had to take the incident with the other parent as a pattern, and "He would have done the same thing". Re: the confrontation of this guy to us. Even though this was well over a year ago, and I explained that these kids in that are were taunting and picking on Dalton in the beginning... He did ask "What if it were a small child?" I have the same concerns, I understand the question... They are doing their job.
I just dont know.
For now, I will wait till tomorrow and depending on what they decide re: pressing charges, I will get hold of Nami for a attorney referral.
QUOTE from a friend:
The neighbor came over and told your husband about what happened - I do not understand why they felt they still needed to call the police. Did Gene offer them compensation for their pet? I mean, what else is one left to do once an animal has died? Other than be compensated for the loss?
After I finished Dalton's clean up, we all went over, he said he was sorry for killing the dog, then clung to me. I told Matt, the neighbor, that I knew there was nothing I could do to replace or make up for their pet. I offered to pay for replacement should they desire, we do have homeowner's ins and liab. I promised that Dalton will not be unsupervised for a very long time, and that he will have no more toys like the wooden gun he used. I don't know what more I could have said. I was a bit surprised he called the police, but it is his right.
Dalton has never hurt anyone or anything seriously before this. A few fights with other children, but usually they were provoking with teasing first, and his reaction though somewhat overreactive, is not beyond a certain level... and this has not happened in over a year. Kids do get in fights, even normal kids.
I'm just weary. Hopefully I'll know more when they call me back today.
I am planning to get help from Dalton's doc this afternoon, I managed to get an emergency appt scheduled with him for 1:30 today. I called his school and spoke with his teacher as well to warn her in case he gets deperssed or moody today.
Dalton was extrememly clingy this morning, understandably. He was afraid his bunny would die or be taken away. He loves animals so much. He told me he hoped they get a new dog.
I tried to explain that he will not be able to go near their pets, and he understands, for now, that he cannot play alone in the neighborhood anymore. I told him the police took his toy gun, but that we had told him he would not have it anymore anyway, as he cannot make good decisions with such a toy. This is just so sad...
I spent the morning on the phone with NAMI trying to find the name of a good attorney, just in case... Waiting for a call back. I am trying to have a plan in action to be ready if the police do file the charges... I know this will work out, it has to. Dalton is not a mean spirited kid, this was not done in anger or vengefullness, it was a fear reaction born of impulse and opportunity. We should never have allowed the wooden gun we let him buy a week ago. If it had not been in his hand... Lots of ifs!
I am just worn out. I always know in the back of my mind that the other shoe will drop after a period of peace in this house, but there is no preparing for the emotional impact. How can you possibly say you're sorry and relieve the pain of another family when something like this is done? There is no way. Yet, I know this is the illness
and brain damage... not intent. My boy is not a bad kid, but I wonder if this could be our fault in some ways because we bought him the wooden rifle, and allowed him to roam freely in the neighborhood. Yet, we are trying to allow him to be as normal as possible, and nothing in his prior behavior would have led us to believe this was a remote possibility!
Thank everyone for all your prayers and warm thoughts. I'm feeling overwhelmed, but we'll get though, we always do. God is good. There is always a hidden blessing in all situations. I need to have patience to find it this time.
Well, it is 9pm here and we just got the call from the officer re: Dalton, finally. They are pressing charges of animal cruelty and have notified CPS. We'll see what happens this coming week.
I talked with his pdoc today, he did not see me as planned, but referred me to the therapist who has seen David. Soonest appt is 10/26/04. I also got a copy of the recs he had. Not much as Dalton has only seen him 3 times. His comment was that there was no reason to see him since the therapist would be the one to try to work with Dalton and this is not a medication issue.
I did request and get a copy of his medical recs with dx, progress notes, initial evealuation, etc... with this doc. Dalton has only seen him three times since March this year. He was the fourth psychiatrist since we moved to Indiana... I liked the first one we had found, but she left the state, then two docs I did not feel comfortable with their experience, they were both brand new docs, and then this guy we found for David and He is a good one.
I am trying to get a referral from NAMI's national attorney referral system. I figure, even if we are able to get the charge dismissed or his mental status taken into consideration, we will likely have CPS in our lives for a WHILE!
Life is fun! ( a little sarcasm here)... I am geared and ready for the fight, by boy do I wish life were boring and we did not have to do this.
Today was a good day. Dalton is very clingy and anxious. He is reverting to a more immature behavioral level, typical of when he is more anxious. He played for a large portionof the day in his sandbox in the backyard. he is abiding by the ruls of staying close to home with no difficulty, ODD behavior, or resistance! He is truly sorry that the puppy is dead. Although he did not intend the action, or even realize he had killed the dog until someone told him it was dead, he understands what happened, and I do not believe he will ever do anything like this again.
We went to Special Olympics Bowling practice this afternoon, and I was able to get the name of an attorney who specializes in special needs children school issues and juvenile justice. I hope I will be able to get in touch with her Monday.
Later this afternoon, we went to the park and Dalton was able to play very well and appropriately with the other children there. This is not a child who intentionally is mean cruel. This incident was 100% impulse. He impulsively approached a dog which he knows is not very friendly to pet it. At some point the dog snapped at him and tried to bit him. He reacted in an impulsive action borne of fear and self-defense... he hit the dog one time and came home immediately. He did not know he had killed the dog, only that he had hit the dog and he was not supposed to do so, but was unable to think before action.
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is distinctive in the impairment in the ability to think before action. Impulsivity is a classic and primary symptom of this disorder. Dalton's reaction to fear is one of aggressive self-defense, then flight. Borne from his early days in fostercare and his resolved Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) this fight/flight reaction to fear is a residual issue. This is a self-protective coping skill which has a reason to exist.
We will get through this... the issues parenting a child or children with mental illness present can be extremely trying and difficult. As parents, we find ourselves in positions which we would never think to be. In situations, which we would not think possible, and in many cases not forseeable. Yet, all we can do is pray and depend on our Heavenly Father to help deliver us through the fire.
The biggest rules for parenting special needs children, especially mentally ill and developmentally disabled children are:
Be prepared for anything and everything.
Be ready and willing to advocate strongly for your child.
Be willing to accept responsibility to seek the least restrictive enviornment for your child... at school and at home...
Be willing to make the necessary changes to proactively prevent dangerous situations from happening once you know that they are possible or likely!