Working for a newspaper is a pretty good gig, especially when said paper is near your hometown. I work with some pretty great people and generally speaking we take a very stressful job and make the best of it. That said, work is still work so most nights when I pull into the driveway it's with a sense of relief that another day is in the books. Last Tuesday evening I pulled into my driveway tired with the weight of another day and anxious to slide past my front door and fall into the couch for a glorious nap.
My nap never happened.
I was greeted by my wife, still wet from the shower standing at the door and yelling, "will you handle this crazy stuff?" The craziness my wife spoke of came in the form of a summons, service or ticket. Whichever way you like it, it's all the same, you're going to see the judge, mister.
My lifelong friend, who happens to also be East Carbon's Animal Control Officer Cody Valdez, laughed at me a little and then explained that my dog does indeed bark and my neighbors don't like it.
Shocking I know. Nobody likes their neighbor's barking dog. I just didn't know you could do something about it.
Cody continued to explain that my little white monster of a dog had been out past curfew the previous evening and one of my neighbors couldn't stand the little gal's vocal jazz anymore. They called, complained and signed and now I am headed to the judge.
Since she stands accused, let me tell you a bit about my dog Puff. Yep, Puff.
Puff is a Chinese Crested Powder Puff, meaning she is a very small dog, you know the ones most people refer to as ankle biters. She weighs all of eight pounds and is shaved to look like her hairless cousin. She also smiles when happy. This makes her look psychotic and rabid. It's funny if you know she isn't going to try and attack you.
If you don't like little dogs, my dog is very easy to dislike (at least until you get to know her).
She doesn't really bark as much as scream. However, she only barks when there is something to bark at, never barks incessantly and sleeps far to much to cause problems at night.
So, as I stood there listening to my buddy explain that I would now be going to court over this little mutt, I began to get angry. The cops had warned me and now I was getting a ticket.
You know how they tell you that you aren't admitting guilt when you sign that ticket? Well have you ever come out innocent after signing one? Me neither.
My first thought was, "I'm going to have to de-bark this dog."
That didn't last. Have you ever looked up de-barking? Some of the sites I visited likened it to removing a person's voice box and hands because the procedure strips a dogs ability to communicate completely. I also read that it hurts and can cause further medical issues. Instead, maybe I can see if my neighbors are interested in having their ears removed? I am only joking of course but it is interesting the way we immediately choose to maim or punish the animal when it's our behavior that is the problem.
Dogs bark, how can you stop that? And why is this a matter for the police and the courts?
Anyone who has been to East Carbon knows it is a very small place. Our homes are very close to one another and a great deal of residents own dogs. In fact, one neighbor of mine has a plethora of dogs, most of which sing the blues all night, every night. But I have never even thought about calling the cops. That is what has me so blown away.
I asked Cody something as he finally handed me the ticket.
"How do they know it was my dog? And if it wasn't, can a person just make up anything they want and call the police, saddling the accused with a court date?"
As I was questioning the bewildered looking officer, who at this point probably wanted to stick my ticket where the sun doesn't shine, town councilmember David Maggio stopped by to ask about another matter.
I pounced on him.
"Look Dave, look what is happening to me! The lunacy, the tyranny!"
"You have just been served," he laughed and drove away.
I stood, dumbfounded.Where is the justice? Puff is a good dog and only barks when alarmed.
I'm going to take my dog Puff to court if I can. I'm going to introduce her to the judge and see what she thinks. Stay tuned, I'll let you know. how it goes.....