Authorities investigated an Illinois mom for allowing her 8-year-old daughter to walk their family's dog around the block alone earlier this month, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Corey Widen's daughter Dorothy had just returned home from her walk with her Maltese puppy, Marshmallow, when police showed up at the family's Wilmette home. Widen told the Daily Mail that she can see her daughter from her windows for most of the route.
An anonymous tipster had called the cops after spotting Dorothy walking the dog alone on Aug. 2.
Under Illinois state law, leaving a child who's under the age of 14 "without supervision for an unreasonable period of time without regard for the mental or physical health, safety or welfare of that minor" is considered neglect.
What happened after the police arrived?
Police asked Widen how old her daughter was and how long she had been out walking with her dog, according to the Tribune.
Deputy Chief Pat Collins told the newspaper that the officers determined that the 48-year-old mother of two had done nothing wrong and no charges were pursued. But that wasn't the end of the ordeal.
The anonymous tipster who called the police also called the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and reported seeing a child of 5 or younger outside alone walking a dog.
That report launched a two-week DCFS investigation.
“For something like this to happen to me, there’s something really wrong,” Widen told the Tribune.
Widen said she homeschools her daughter and it's the only time during the day that the child is unsupervised.
DCFS caseworkers visited the Widens' home and interviewed her 17-year-old son, as well as Dorothy and other family members. They even visited the child's pediatrician.
Widen told "Inside Edition" that the investigation caused unnecessary stress for her family and it cost her thousands in attorney's fees.
About two weeks into the investigation, caseworkers determined the allegations of possible neglect and/or abuse were unfounded and the investigation was closed.
“We don’t control the calls that come into our hotline. Something made someone think there was a concern, and we don’t know without checking it out,” a DCFS spokeswoman told the Tribune.
What did Widen say?
Widen told "Inside Edition" that she will continue to allow her daughter to take Marshmallow out for walks.
“Everyone needs to allow the parent to do what is best for their family,” she told the Tribune. “No one will dictate my parenting choices.”