Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Law Won

Thursday morning my dog Sandy scooted out the back door, ran through my yard, and ran through the yard next door. She came back when I called her. In the less-than-two-minutes she was running at large, she barked at some woman who happened to be walking by on the other side of the road.

Hours later, Bob-The-By-Law-Officer arrived. While he patted Sandy and offered her treats, he issued a “Friendly Written Warning” alleging that my dog is an AGGRESSIVE DOG.

A friendly written warning
Friendly Written Warning

Bob was friendly enough, but it didn’t seem a very friendly written warning.

According to Bob, the woman had come back to the house to get the house number, and was “surprised” to see Sandy at the front window. So the dog was inside --- not running at large --- in the front window, and so was Eric. I was working outside, pressure washing the deck. There is no way she could not have seen this. But rather than speak to me or to Eric, she made a note of the house number --- where the dog was not running at large --- and phoned Dog Control.

I know I am a newcomer, having lived here just under nine years. But this is my question: Have the people here ALWAYS been whiny babies, running off to tell mommy or daddy when someone breaks a rule? Or is this something recent? Because where I grew up we were taught that grownups work things out in a civilized fashion, and only when that becomes impossible do we bring in “The Authorities.” Or invade.

Friday night on the local news a woman at “The Mayor’s Environmental Expo” made a presentation to schoolchildren about five noxious weeds that cause problems in the Okanagan. She had posters, brochures, what looked like bookmarks, and who-knows-what-all-else to aid in identifying the weeds. “Now there is a program,” she explained. “If you see these weeds in your neighbour’s yard, REPRORT THEM to the Regional District.”

Don’t approach the neighbo(u)r? Don’t ask to have a quiet word? Don’t slip a poster or a bookmark under the door in the dead of night and run away? Heck no. REPORT THEM. You could win a $50.00 gift certificate at --- wait for it --- a local garden centre. So now, we have given schoolchildren the job of reporting their neighbo(u)rs to “The Authorities.” It’s peculiar, but I have an almost overpowering urge to listen to the Original Broadway Cast album of “Cabaret.”

Hey, look. Was it my fault that my dog took off running? You bet. She knows better, and she is never allowed out on her own. Am I sorry this woman, whoever she is, was frightened by my dog? Absolutely. It’s just too bad she didn’t ring the doorbell or get my attention while I was working on the deck. The deck that she had to have passed by to see Sandy in the front window, not running at large. I would have heard her out. I would have apologized. But the fact is, I don’t know who she is because she chose the coward’s way out, and it turns out that the recipients of “friendly written warnings” are not entitled to know who made the allegations.

But we can certainly narrow it down, because Sandy usually only barks at sanctimonious jerks and the FedEx delivery guy. I intend to sit on the deck at least part of every day and see who gets barked at.


connie said...

Cate --- this is a great article ! -- you really really really are a good writer ....i am not kidding

Ted from Cambell River, BC said...

That sure is a shame.

Your website was mentioned on the K9Cast podcast and I was pleased to see that you've from BC. I sure hope things improve in your town. Maybe there's an opportunity in that.

Anyway, all the best to you and Sandy, and I look forward to reading on your site.

catester said...

Thanks for the comment, Ted. Isn't that a great podcast?

The Okanagan Dog Owners Association has been working with government agencies and community dog owners to improve this and other things in Kelowna. It's getting better, but as you can see we have a challenge, still.

Thanks again - hope things are good for dogs in Campbell River. I hear it's beautiful there.