Monday, August 21, 2006

Tale from the Crypt...

I worked on this post off and on all day yesterday. I never got it finished. I just wasn't in the "writing mode" then. Hopefully it will be finished by today (Tuesday) and posted:

I just finished having lunch. A plate full of fresh spinach, sunflower seeds sprinkled over, some cut up chicken breast with Ranch dressing. Yum! That was a nice change.

Now on to the reason for the title of my blog post:

Friday after I posted I got a call from my daughter. I was so angry at the time of the call, I didn't post for the rest of the day, nor did I trust myself to. To say I was angry would have been the understatement of the year. My cheese was grated. My beets were pickled. I was mad.

The thing was, I started the day out in a great mood. Thursday had been a tough day, and I was having a Happy Friday. Until the call.

So, Jess calls me. She says, "Mom, Animal Control has been sitting in front of the house in the driveway for like a half an hour now." The first thing I thought of was that the dogs must have been barking. We live in a really small town, a village, actually, and practically everyone in the town has a dog...or two or three. We've never had any trouble with our dogs being barkers, so I was at a loss. I asked Jess, and she said the dogs started barking after the guy pulled up, but not until then. Taz was outside running around with the two big dogs, having a good time. The kids are home in the summer during the time we are at work, so the dogs were not alone.

So I asked Jess to hand the phone to the animal control officer. He had not entered the gate, because it is clearly posted, "No Trespassing" and "Beware of Dog." I had been told by several dog owners that it would be a good idea...even if your dogs seem friendly to post this type of warning at both gates. It's some sort of Ohio liability issue. So, anyway, he got on the phone and I identified myself and said, "What's going on?"

Immediately he laughed, and said, "Okay, it's okay. We did get a complaint called in that your dogs are neglected."

Right then and there I exploded, "WHAT?!"" I think I yelled it in the poor man's ear.

I stammered and started to protest, when he interrupted me. "Ma'am, I just want to say that I'm already writing this up as a 'unsubstantiated complaint,' but I did have to investigate." He went on to say that from outside the fence he could see food and water and shelter were indeed provided for the dogs. He noted that their coats were glossy and they were not running loose. He said when he pulled up the kids were in the yard, playing with them. He said that one of the dogs could be considered obese (Carlito), and the little one (Taz) was chubby. He noted that Gideon seemed to be a healthy body weight. None of them seemed injured and all seemed to be thriving.

I explained to him that all the dogs were up to date on their shots, had all been neutered recently, had prescriptions for both flea and worm prevention. He explained that by state law, they were not authorized to enforce those items, but that he would make note of it. I offered to provide veterinary records on all three dogs. He assured me that it would not be necessary. I then asked if I would be able to find out who made this ludicrous claim. He said that as of Tuesday I could come in with an i.d. and obtain a copy of the complaint.

Let me explain something about our yard. The way our acre is situated, only one part of our yard is openly visible. It is fenced in all the way around the entire acre. The fence is a tall chain link fence. On one side and in the back yard, there are pine trees all along the fenceline. They create a barrier, making it impossible to see in.

There is, consequently, only one or two neighbors of ours that can see into our yard from their yards. One of the neighbors is unemployed, and her spouse, twenty plus years her senior, is retired. Years ago, this "lady" argued with my grandfather and I intervened. Grandpa was using a leaf blower to get fallen leaves away from the fenceline and in to the street so he could bag them. The neighbor went and got a really long extension chord and stood in the street with her leaf blower, blowing the leaves back against the fence.

At that point I told Grandpa to go in the house, and I would handle it. At that time, I was 21 or 22, but Grandpa was very frail and sickly. He was in his late 70s, and not in good health.

I walked over to where she was, and asked her if she had anything better to do than pick on a defenseless elderly gentleman. She started ranting about how if those leaves started blowing over to her yard, she'd have to bag them up and she didn't have f------ time for it. She was swearing and making herself look like and idiot. Realizing that I wasn't going to get anywhere talking to her, I walked to my car, got in, and started it up. I intended to drive off and leave her ranting in the street. However, she followed me to the car, stood right at my drivers' side window, continuing to spew profanities. She ended her rant by telling me, "Go home, n----r lover."

I don't have a whole lot of patience for ignorance of this magnitude. The cursing I could have ignored, but she crossed a line in my mind with that comment. At this point in the conversation, I reminded her that I was behind the wheel of a car, that the car was running, and that it would be quite easy for my foot to accidentally slip off the brake and on to the gas. It would be a shame, I said, because she was standing right in front of my car. I encouraged her that the safest thing to do was to take her ignorant self home where she would be much safer. So, seeing the wisdom of my words, she went home. Over the last 12+ years, that was the very last run in we've ever had. I figured she'd be pretty upset when I bought the house and moved in, but she has actually waved on a regular basis and seemed friendly since. I guess she figured "if you can't beat them, join them."

I thought we were all on good terms. Up until now. I don't know yet if it was her that made this call. The neighbor across the street seems to think it was perpetuated by a completely different source.

A couple of months back, Jo, Josh and several neighborhood kids were playing basketball on a street hoop located off the road west of our house. It isn't unusual for 8-10 kids to play football, basketball, soccer, or whatever game they think up in our yard or in other parent's yards on the block.

About six houses down, a man had a pit bull and a pregnant Rotweiler. He had a kennel for them, which they didn't use much, and an invisible fence. They had trouble with the invisible fence, and the dogs would get out on a frequent basis. The dogs were very aggressive. They would chase passersby, although they had never bitten anyone that I'm aware of. The scariest part of walking past the house was never knowing when the dogs ran toward you if the fence was up and running or not.

Anyway, the boys were playing, and there were several neighborhood parents watching. All of a sudden, the female Rotweiler from down the street ran out of its yard, into the street toward Jo and started growling and chasing him. The parents got Jo and the other kids to safety and called Animal Control.

Since this was like the fifth or sixth call on the dogs, and the owner had several previous citations for vicious dogs, the dogs were removed from the owner's possession. I guess he never got the dogs back. From what I now understand, he believed that we called Animal Control. That would be logical, because we were the parents of the boy that his dog chased. However, I didn't know anything about the incident until the boys told me about it later that evening.

I still don't know who made the call. Right now I've just been guessing and tossing around theories. I guess one could say that the situation ended well, because we were found to be in the right. However, now I feel like my trust in my neighborhood has been shattered. I can't figure out why people would be so vindictive. What's going to be next? Will they always target us and our dogs for this type of pettiness?

That's my rant about that. I had to get it out of my system. Today I'll go and get a copy of the paperwork, and at least have some closure on the "who." I wish all people were good and decent. I really do.

That's my Tale from the Crypt. I'll blog more later on unrelated topics.

Hope you're having a decent day, and that you have no drama to speak of in your life today, unless it's winning the lottery.


neicybelle said...

oh wow, kristi...i'm so sorry to hear about know, there are some pretty evil people in this world...unfortunately, every now and then they insist on injecting their ugliness into our lives..i hope everything works out well.

Elliemarie said...

That's awful! I can't believe someone would do something like that without just cause. And I must say, you are a much calmer woman than I, because if anyone called me something as disgustingly ignorant as that, I would have beat the you-know-what out of her. I don't blame you for having your faith shattered in your neighbours, but hopefully it will all work out okay.

Kristi K. said...

That's it, neicy! Truly, it's almost like when people act like that...I feel violated on some level. Like my life is going along fine, and someone has to thrust their ugliness into my world. It's a rude awakening.