Illinois Mom Investigated for Letting 8-Year-Old Walk Dog Alone

Police officers and Child Protective Services caseworkers visited the home of a family in Illinois because a neighbor called them after seeing an 8-year-old walking the family’s dog around the block.

Corey Widen, 48, mother of the unnamed daughter, said that the call led to the police leaving shortly after asking a few questions, but caseworkers spending two weeks investigating potential child neglect.

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

NTD Photo
A Google Street View screenshot shows the exterior of the Widen family home and some of the surrounding neighborhood. (Google Maps)

Only Time the 8-year-old Is Unsupervised

She explained that she only agreed to let her children get a Maltese puppy last year with the stipulation that the daughter and a 17-year-old son take their turns walking the dog.

Widen said the girl’s walk around the block with the puppy, most of which Widen can see from her home’s windows, is the only time of the day the girl is unsupervised. “The funny thing is … I’m a joke with my friends because my kids are around me all the time,” Widen said.

Widen opened her door shortly after the walk to police officers outside.

“I said, did I do something wrong? and she said, well how old is she? I said, she’s eight. And she said well okay, we got a call that she was five or under,” Widen told Fox News.

After speaking with Widen, the officers decided no crime was committed, but the person who called them then called Child Protective Services, which in the state is known as the Department of Children and Family Services.

All Calls Must be Investigated

Caseworkers spent two weeks investigating potential neglect but ultimately ruled that it wasn’t neglect.

The department said that they have to check out all calls that come into their hotline.

“We want to investigate … because you just don’t know,” department spokesman Neil Skene told the Tribune. “You also don’t want to say (to the public), ‘Don’t call us unless it’s serious.’ There are all these other cases where we say, ‘if only someone had called us.’”

Jim Eisenmann, a neighbor, told Fox that the proper thing for whomever it was that called officials would have been to go directly to Widen.

“Most of us made the comment that if somebody had a concern, that the proper thing would have been to knock on her door and say something to her directly,” he said.