There are no bad owners, only bad dogs


How grown-ups solve problems

Several months ago, when I had three bad dogs, not two, I came home from a night class to find a letter in my mail. This is already remarkable, since my mail is usually bills and flyers from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, so I tore open the envelope hoping to find a friendly note from a long-lost friend, or some crap like that. Instead, I found a letter printed from a computer printer on a half sheet of paper (don't want to invest a whole sheet on something like this), which said that the writer of the letter had been disturbed by my dogs barking at 10 p.m. on a specific night. This letter writer is a decent person who has to go to sleep. How is the letter writer to sleep with my dogs barking? They were probably barking because they were cold and hungry because I wasn't home. The next time the letter writer experienced such a distressing incident, he/she was going to call the police.

Well. I really didn't quite know what to do about this anonymous letter which had a stamp on it and was unsigned. I thought about calling the police myself, but I was pretty sure they had better things to do. My dogs could not possibly have been either cold or hungry because they are spoiled rotten and have a dog door and a free-choice food dispenser.

A couple of days later, I was inside my house when the doorbell rang. I opened the door to find a police officer outside, writing me a ticket because my dogs had been barking the night before. He looked pretty embarassed to be involved in this crime. I asked him who had complained so I could, you know, talk to that person like a reasonable adult would and find a solution to the problem. He said that he couldn't tell me who had called (because he didn't know), but that the dispatcher could if I called the station. He wrote me a ticket for breaking a city ordinance, the fine for which is $125. As I was talking to the officer, I saw the shriveled up old weenie that lives across the street from me peering out from his screen door, bobbing his head around, trying to listen. "Aha," I thought. "It's the shriveled up weenie across the street who is complaining. I bet he wrote that anonymous letter, too."

When I called the police dispatcher, they of course couldn't tell me who had called to complain. They told me that I could call the municipal court on Monday to find out.

So, I go about my business, blah, blah, blah, and I call the municipal court to ask who had complained. They told me that it was not, in fact, the shriveled weenie, but the bloated tick who lives next door to him that had complained.

I made my appointment to see the judge in municipal court and continued on with my life. Not one week later did I receive, in the mail, another summons for the dogs barking. Another $125 fine!! Yay! This time the summons did have the complainant on it, and it was, indeed, the shriveled weenie. It also had a time of the complaint: 4 p.m. In the afternoon. Not during sleepy time.

Now, I had already held a fairly low opinion of this gentleman and his lovely wife, due to the fact that he is a registered sex offender .

I'm a fairly open-minded person, but you know, you really have to draw the line somewhere, and that's way past where I draw it. I found the appeal archive on my friend the Internet and read all about how my sweet old neighbor had taken his computer to a store for repair. The technician found very disturbing photos on the computer, called the police, and the bad man was arrested. His defense consisted of essentially the following: “I didn’t do it. The Internet put those pictures there without my knowledge.” He lost his case and his appeal. Hah.

So, the sex offender is sending me anonymous letters about my dogs being mistreated and is calling the police before it’s even Early Bird Special o’clock at Luby's .

Well. This called for something. It called first for a bit of drinking, then a trip to Kinko’s. Kinko’s can print lots of stuff, including poster-sized replicas of a sex offender report. So they did. And flyers, too, for under people’s windshield wipers.

The posters went up in my windows and on the big tree in my front yard. Lots of people stopped to read it.

The next day, the shriveled old weenie came to talk to me. What a surprise! Finally! A neighborly visit!

He told me how long he’d been living in his house. I said that I didn’t care how long he’d been there and asked him why he was there. He said that he never called the police, it was his wife. I said he should give her a talking to, because people married to sex offenders might be judged a bit differently than, say, everyone else. He said that he was a victim of the Internet and I said I’d been using the Internet ever since Al Gore invented it, and the Internet had never sent me any child pornography. He said that he was just a poor old man, and I was mean to put the posters up. I said I’d make a deal with him. I’d take the posters down until the next time the police came to my door because my dogs were barking.

So far, no more complaints. Isn’t it great when people can work things out like grown-ups?

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