If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know one of my biggest pet peeves is dog owners who let their beasts crap wherever and won't pick it up. If it's in your own yard, let it pile up. I don't care, unless the wind shifts and I can smell it in my yard.
But if it's in my yard, or on that little strip of grass on the swale that the city requires me to maintain as if it was mine, then it's a different story.
Still, in spite of my peeves I've been making a concerted effort lately to be less of a curmudgeon and more of a neighborly kind of guy. I don't wanna become that crotchety old guy who calls the Environmental Protection Agency every time someone farts outside.
There is a thin line between vigilance and being uptight. I don't want to cross it.
Nevertheless, after reading my paper this morning and watching Reliable Sources w/Howard Kurtz, I stood to stretch and walked out to my front porch...just in time to see one of the dog poop bandits letting his rat terrier bend a fresh biscuit on my swale. And not to be too graphic, but considering the size of the dog this was a really large biscuit - practically a whole loaf.
So yes, I was pissed off. Like Homer Simpson I was fighting to control the bulging vein in my neck.
And I had to quickly decide on one of three options:
- Go outside and drop kick the rat terrier and the rat holding his leash all the way back to their house.
- Go outside and ask/suggest/tell the rat holding the leash to pick up his terrier's loaf - according to city ordinance.
- Ignore what I saw, turn around and go back in the house and continue soaking up the pleasant atmosphere my morning had started in.
I can tell you right now that option one wouldn't work, 'cause I'm too pretty to go to jail. And I give to the Humane Society and adopt animals from there. Last thing I need is them camped outside my house with picket signs, 'cause I punted a dog and his owner 30 yards.
Option three was also bad, 'cause I wouldn't feel right if I ignored what I saw. It would make me a hypocrite to ignore it. Sorry, but this was no small violation as far as I'm concerned. That is one of the least responsible things a pet owner can do - other than abuse their animals, in my opinion. And it damn sure ain't very neighborly.
So I went outside. Here's where the "Only in Miami" thing comes in (BTW, I live outside the city of Miami, but for the sake of conversation I refer to everything in Southeast Florida as "Miami" or "the Miami area"):
I open my front door, step out, and approach:
Me: Um, 'scuse me, but I notice your dog is going on my swale here. I have spare bags if you need one. It'd be no problem.
Rat: Oh, um, you do have a spare? Um, yeah, sure.
Me: No problem.
Intermission: The look on his face was a mixture of "I'm busted" and "I'm annoyed that I'm busted." So I turn to walk back inside and get him a bag and then...
Rat: Wait a minute. Why should I pick it up? I think your dog has gone in front of my house.
Me: Nice try. This is a hateful chore, picking up dog crap. But I'm religious about it 'cause it pisses me off when I see it laying around. So if you saw my dog go in front of your house, you also saw me stoop seconds later to pick it up.
Rat: Oh really?
Me: Yeah, really.
Rat: Well, I still don't have to pick it up. No police saw me do it. And if they didn't see me, nothing can happen to me.
Me: Wrong again. You can still get a ticket.
Rat: Nah-anh. It's just a misdemeanor.
Me: Um yeah, that's why I said you could still get a ticket. I didn't suggest jail.
Rat: How many people do you see in this neighborhood carrying bags?
Me: Not enough. But if I'm guessing correctly by the tone of your voice that you think you're better than "those" people, why not do the right thing and pick up your dog crap?
Rat: Well, I still don't have to. Besides, you didn't really ask me nicely.
Me: My reaction to your trying to sneak off notwithstanding, the issue here is your dog crapped outside your yard and in front of mine. The city says you have to pick it up, or else. What are you gonna do?
Rat: It's just a misdemeanor. You can call my lawyer if you want.
Me: Don't need to, unless your lawyer is also gonna let his dog crap in front of my house and not pick it up.
Rat: If you'd only asked nicer this wouldn't be an issue.
Me: We're talking in circles. Let's agree I'm not nice. That doesn't change the fact that your dog went, you got busted, you're embarassed that you got caught. And now, instead of showing some character and cleaning up after your dog you're making this about how I offended your delicate sensibilities.
Rat: You wrote me that letter last year.
Me: You mean the letter I wrote you (instead of calling Animal Control), after your Jack Russell slipped under your gate, bit my dog on the leg during our walk and then squeaked back under your gate? Let me guess that letter wasn't nice either?
Rat: Well, no. It wasn't nice to send me a letter.
Me: As opposed to calling Animal Control and the cops and, again, you getting ticketed? I think it was the most neighborly thing I could have done. I wasn't gonna come through the gate and knock on your door. It was enough to keep my dog on his leash and stop him from swallowing yours whole. I can't say how I would have reacted if he'd bitten me instead.
Rat: Well, I'm leaving. You're not nice.
Conclusion: I can't complete the rest of the transcript 'cause we both traded a few words of French, the variety that only comes in three and four letter words. If you're at all curious, he didn't pick up after his dog. Rat kept walking 'cause I'd hurt his feelings. He was wrong about the cops having to see him in the act though. And while I don't want to be that guy, that curmudgeon, as a matter of principle, I'm gonna make sure Rat gets a ticket.
So what is the lesson to be learned here? None, necessarily. Rat may remain for the rest of his life that French word I called him. Because I startled him today, and he'll never know when I'm hanging out on my porch (not often), I'll bet he won't let his dog go in front of my house again, even if he is carrying a bag. But the important thing is he got called out. Before this process is over he'll get a ticket. And he'll be taught - whether he learns anything from it or not - that there are consequences for purposely being bad toward other folks. You may get your justice by way of the law. You may get it by way of karma. But you'll get it.
That's all for me, folks. I'm off to take my dog on a long walk...with plenty of bags in my back pocket.
Peace and hair grease!
Labels: circular logic, dog poop bandits, numbnuts