Wednesday afternoon, an animal control officer came to our house to interview us regarding the incident at the park on Tuesday. When I answered the door, the children mistakenly thought he was part of the poop patrol and were quick to inform him "I go poo-poo on the potty!" Because he thought that they were inviting him to a party, I didn't bother to explain the whole thing about me threatening to have my children hauled off to jail if they didn't start pooping in the potty.
The officer assured us that they would be significantly bumping up patrol in the area and if and when the dog owner's were found, they would be questioned and possibly charged with a misdemeanor. He also echoed the feeling that I've felt brewing the past few months. By and large, people do not have any respect for their fellow man or the law.
After some soul searching, I've discovered that the reason I feel like I have such a short fuse with the general public lately, is because I have a zero-tolerance threshold for people that have no respect for society. At least around here, it seems that you step foot outside and you are bombarded with people that have no accountability. They drive like maniacs and put every one on the same road as them, at risk. They illegally discharge chemicals to the storm drain. They sell drugs from their cars in neighborhoods where little kids are skating by on their scooters. They take their untrained dogs to a children's park and let them run free.
They are rude and crude and when their actions affect my family or my neighborhood, I am unable to look the other way and say nothing.
Although I probably should be afraid, I am more angry than scared of what the carpet cleaners that were discharging illegally to the storm drain might do. When I was out one night last week writing down the license plate numbers of the cars that I'm certain are buying drugs from the house behind us, so that I could turn them in to the police, I was infuriated to think that riff-raff have infiltrated our neighborhood.
When I stood at the park on Tuesday screaming at the gang banger who let his animals loose in an area where dogs are required to be on leash, I wondered if a flak jacket wouldn't be a nice addition to my wardrobe and if they came in pink?
Now, I just have to convince my husband not to run over the dog owner's if he sees them out walking on the street. Because after Charlie heard the story on Tuesday afternoon - he drove to the park before realizing that even if he saw the dog handler's out in public, it would be better for the police to handle the situation then him.
The situation. That whole event that happened almost a week ago and has been keeping me awake at night. Even though I've been exhausted after spending full days with my family - and my sister and I have been staying up until 2 AM talking - I've been unable to close my eyes without seeing the white dog jumping on my little boy. I've spent several hours perusing the internet and although have never been one to carry a weapon, have opted for the key chain pepper spray variety as opposed to the pepper spray bling.
As a child, my family had German Shepherds and for the past 16 years, I've owned Labrador Retrievers. Even though dogs have been a part of my family for the better part of my life, I have a healthy fear of dogs, all dogs, that are not my own. Regardless of how "friendly" or "gentle" someone claims that their dog is, regardless of the breed, the dog could always turn. I know that young children don't know how to read a dog's cues and because I don't want for our kids to annoy Molly - I never leave them in mixed company, unsupervised.
Our children have never shown any fear of dogs - unless - the dogs come running up to them, unleashed. Still, I would much prefer that our kids do not approach dogs that are on leash, or our neighbors dogs through the fence, even though we are assured that they are safe, because I simply don't trust them. I know of two children who on two separate occasions were attacked - unprovoked - by small "lap" dogs and required extensive plastic surgery on their faces.
When I was eight-years-old, my most awesome Uncle Bill took me out shopping for a pony. I'll never forget driving around the countryside in his vintage MGB with the top down. After we visited with one particular farm, we were walking back to the car and a large German Shepherd that I had been patting and playing with for the past hour, suddenly turned on me. Just before I was able to get in to the car, he charged at me growling. My Uncle had to pick me up and hold me high until the owner retrieved his animal.
When Charlie and I had our Lab puppy, Monty, I was out for a walk with our 15-pound ball of white fur when I was chased down by a 120-pound Rottweiler who had squeezed himself out from beneath a slightly ajar garage door. I was able to remove Monty's leash and use the metal clasp to defend myself - by spinning it around and smacking the dog across the muzzle. But the dog continued to trail us the rest of the way home, growling and barking ... and Monty peed all over me because I'm certain he thought he was lunch.
It happened a few weeks ago that I was out for a walk with Molly and all four children, by myself, when a dog that escaped from it's yard came running up to us with it's hair on end and barking. Thankfully, Molly is extremely laid back at 13.5-years old and didn't flinch when the dog ran right up to us. But because I've been around dogs the majority of my life, I know that it is usually a sign of aggression when an unleashed dog charges a leashed dog and the conclusion can be quite unpleasant, particularly if the leashed dog feels threatened and needs to defend itself.
Several years ago, we were visiting a local dog beach where leashes are not required. As soon as we arrived and before we had removed Monty's lead - a dog came bounding up to us. The dog seemed friendly enough, jumping around and nipping the air, but after a couple of minutes, once Monty was running around free, the dog wouldn't leave him alone. When the dog was trying to mount and hump him, I started obviously scanning the crowd to see if I could see his owner. I was asking to the people standing around if anyone knew whose dog this was??
We tried to walk away but the dog was jumping on Monty's back. After a few more minutes, Monty turned around and took a chunk out of the dog's ear. The dog started yelping and almost instantly, the owner appeared beside me shouting that my dog BIT his dog. I told the guy that Monty was up to date on all of his shots and a more responsible dog owner would stop his animal before it harassed other dogs to the point that they snapped.
Just because someone thinks it's great FUN the way their dog jumps all over them or wedges their nose up their inseam, it doesn't mean other people will share their affection - and tolerance - for their furry companion.
Dogs are a lot like children. They both have to be trained and controlled. Parents are responsible for their children, dog handlers are responsible for their animals. Just as I do not entirely blame obnoxious kids on a playground ... I do not entirely blame the dogs that came after my children on Tuesday. Although some may disagree, I believe that how well dogs and children turn out - depends largely upon the the competency of the people raising them.
And well. The people last week needed a shock collar more than their dogs.