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by Abigail Van Buren

Mother Stands Her Ground About Letting Kids Near Dog

DEAR ABBY: My sister-in-law bought a pit bull. Because I have small children and am concerned about their safety, I asked her not to bring the dog to my house. She agreed.

However, my in-laws frequently baby-sit our children. Although my mother-in-law promised that she would not allow the pit bull there when my children are at her home, my father-in-law now says that this places him in an awkward position. He doesn't want to choose between seeing his daughter -- who likes to bring her pit bull with her everywhere -- and having my kids there.

He has asked me to reconsider. I feel strongly that I should stand firm, even if it means my in-laws no longer baby-sit, which will be a loss to my children. What is your advice? -- WORRIED MOM IN ANN ARBOR

DEAR WORRIED MOM: Small children should not be left unsupervised with any breed of dog. Children are unpredictable and could unwittingly do something to frighten or agitate the animal.

It would be nice if you and your sister-in-law could coordinate the visits of the kids and the dog. However, if that is not possible, unless you are absolutely certain that your children would not be injured, it's better to err on the side of caution and stand firm.