parade:
a ‘line’ of people moving together as part of ceremony or celebration

accidentally:
not on purpose; not intentially; not planned

growl:
the low noise an angry dog makes in its throat

badly:
seriously (colloquial)

leash:
short piece of rope, leather etc. used to control a dog (attached to collar on dog’s neck)

properly:
in the normal way

bubble:
‘round’ (spherical) area of air or other gas floating inside liquid (or on surface); or ‘round’ (spherical) film of liquid floating in air

animal control office:
government office concerned with animal problems


Bradley Fowler (easy version)

On a Sunday afternoon in 2004, in a small town in the eastern United States, Bradley Fowler went to a park with his parents and the family dog. In the park, they joined a “parade” of people walking with their dogs. Besides the parade, there were games and lots of food.

During the parade, Bradley noticed a table with special dog food on it. He wanted to get some of the food for his own dog, so he left the parade and walked toward the table. As he did this he accidentally touched the large dog that was in front of him.

This dog weighed over 100 kilograms and was as tall as Bradley — who was nine years old at the time. The dog’s name was Winston. When Winston felt Bradley touch him he turned around and growled. When this happened, Bradley was afraid Winston was going to bite him so he held up his hand in front of his face.

Then Winston bit Bradley’s hand and hurt it badly. While his left hand was still inside Winston’s mouth, Bradley tried to push Winston away with his right hand. Then Winston let go of Bradley’s left hand and bit his right hand.

Winston’s owner was a man called Paul Iafrate. Paul was holding Winston on a short leash, but, still, Winston was so strong that Paul could not control him. By the time Paul was able to pull Winston away, Bradley was covered in blood. There was a cut on his left hand about ten centimeters long and three centimeters wide.

Bradley’s doctors said his right hand would get better, but he might never be able to use his left hand properly again. For a while, after the accident, Bradley wasn’t able to use either of his hands at all. He couldn’t go to school or even feed himself. He had to spend most of his time just sitting in a chair in his living room. Beside him he had a toy dog he had been given in the hospital. He called the dog Winston. He also had a little green bottle with bubbles in it. A girl in the park had given it to him just after he was bitten. He said he would like to thank the girl but he didn’t know who she was.

Winston’s owner, Paul said he felt bad about what had happened. But he also said that Winston hadn’t really wanted to hurt Bradley. He said that when Bradley held up his hand, Winston probably thought Bradley was going to hit him. So he bit him.

Paul also said that Winston had bitten both his own children, but he still thought he was a good dog and he wanted to keep him.

The day after Bradley was bitten a woman who had been in the park at the same time told the “animal control office” that Winston had almost bitten her own son, Alex, just before he bit Bradley. She said she had been talking to Paul. While they were talking, Alex had reached out his hand toward Winston and Winston had suddenly taken Alex’s arm, right up to his elbow, into his mouth. Alex had quickly taken his arm out and had not been hurt.

Paul said this story was not true, but the people in the animal control office said they believed it. But they also said that Paul had not broken the law when he brought Winston to the park because he had not planned to let him hurt anyone.

After the accident, Winston had to stay home for ten days and Paul said he was going too send him to a school for dogs.

- information from: Cape Cod Times (Hyannis , Massachussetts, U.S.A.), 04.10.14 (Marc Parry); 4.10.15 (Marc Parry); 4.10.16 (Marc Parry)