Thursday, March 01, 2012

Who Let The Dogs Out?

            On Tues, March 6, after the lunch break, the Board of Supervisors will consider amending the Animal Control ordinances to include a section that will make it” unlawful for any person to keep, harbor, or maintain any aggressive or menacing animal unless it is contained in an enclosure of a construction adequate to keep it securely confined and prevent it from harassing, intimidating, or otherwise threatening a person when such a person is peaceably and lawfully upon public or private property other than that of its owner.”
            The ordinance come about because the county has no way of engaging in “preventive” measures on dogs running amok and harassing, attacking people and dogs.  The only ordinances in place now are after the fact, after the neighbor’s cat has been eaten or somebody out walking their dog has been set upon by a loose dog and havoc ensues.  The owner of the run-amok dog can be cited, but unless that dog cranks us a track record of citations to the point of earning a civil action resulting in it being declared a dangerous, vicious dog and removed and destroyed, the Depart of Animal services has little control over such critters and their clueless owners.
            This ordinance is an attempt to prevent such encounters by requiring anyone owning an “aggressive or menacing animal” make sure it’s securely contained at all times.  And make it illegal for that menacing animal to attack other critters. In short, if your dog escapes your yard and traps your terrified neighbor on her own porch, clutching her little pooch to her chest and hollering for help, then you’re gonna get hammered and be required to keep your Cujo properly confined at all times.
            I certainly support the ordinance, though I do have some reservations concerning the language in the ordinance, which I sent in an email to the BOS (below).
            “Dear Sirs,
Regarding the menacing animal ordinance under consideration March 6.  The ordinance, as presently written, states that an aggressive dog must be confined so as to " . . . prevent it from harassing, intimidating, or otherwise threatening a person . .  ."
            The word "harassing" seems clear enough, involving some kind of actual proximity and physical interference/contact.  But the words "intimidating" and "threatening" are subjective, internal states of mind, so I would urge the Board to better clarify those two words.
            For example, I often walk on the street and have big "menacing" dogs rush to their fence and "threaten" me with often very scary barking, and the "voice" of some of those dogs is indeed "intimidating."  (And I'm sure we've all had the same "intimidating" startlement when passing by a car-guarding dog left in a parking lot as well.)

      Luckily, I know "Dog-Speak"  so I can better gauge the real threat level. (And eyeball the strength of the fence.) But what happens with someone who doesn't know "dog speak," or know that the dog in question is only doing his job of warning off trespassers?  Would that person find that barking "intimidating," and "threatening," even though the fence is secure, the dog is just a big annoying boofer doing his guard job and they are, in reality, quite safe? 
            And if they reported that normal guard-barking dog as having "intimidated" them or "threatened" them, (both internal states of mind)  then who and what criteria would be used to decide whether that dog and that encounter qualifies as "menacing and aggressive" under this ordinance? 
            I hope you will discuss and perhaps clarify the intent and/or practical meaning of these two words so as to offer a clearer criteria for enforcement and for the public's understanding.
            Thank you”

            If you have a dog or an interest in doggie things, I hope you’ll attend the meeting and put in your comments as well.  Sadly, there’s been some awful injuries caused by bad dogs and stupid, clueless owners, so perhaps this small change in the law can help forestall further problems.

Goodbye To An Amazing Lady

            It was sad to read of the passing Mary Lee Clark. She and her husband were the driving force behind the construction of the wonderful Clark Center in Arroyo Grande.  I love that theatre.  It’s the perfect size, is such a wonderful asset to the community and above all, has about a bazillion woman’s toilet stalls.
            Which is why, years ago, when I went to the grand opening, I tracked Mrs. Clark down and said, “I want to shake your hand.  Thank you so much for all those toilets!”  She laughed and noted that it was a struggle with the architects, who were men, to get them to add all those stalls. 
            Well, thank goodness she persisted.  She’s the perfect example of what a handful of wonderful people can do to make the world a better place.  And I wish her peace and Godspeed.

And Then There’s Mary’s Opposite

            Awww, ya gotta laugh.  Front page coverage in the Tribune, photo of Ann Coulter speaking at Cal Poly.  Then on the inside page, a shot of about 996, primarily older folks, sitting in the audience and the cutline:  Cal Poly Republicans distributed 996 free tickets to see Ann Coulter speak Tuesday.  The Chumash Auditorium was filled, mostly by community members rather than students.”
            Cal Poly Republicans have to give away free tickets to get anyone to go hear Ann Coulter’s intellectually dishonest, truly ugly-on-a-stick schtick?  And a bunch of old guys show up while the students stay away in droves?   Way to go, Cal Poly.
     And, speaking of ugly-on-a-stick schtick, news just in of the sudden death of Andrew Breitbart, another  intellectually dishonest hack who caused a lot of people harm just so he could advance his self-promoting career -- Sammy Glick, Joe Hustle, Mr. Angry Guy pretending to be a Crusading Journalist, some sort of conservative Edward R. Murrow but who was, in reality, just another guy  looking for the main chance and not caring who he hurt, just so long as he got it.  I'm betting the "natural causes" that did him in were caused, in part, by his feeding on his own bile. Or booze?  The last TV clip I saw of him, he was at some Occupy Wall Street event and was totally out of control, raging, screaming.  That's hard on even the hardest of hearts.             

And Now, Your WTF Moment

            Cynthia Lambert in her recent Tribune story notes that TWICE convicted rapist, Tibor Karsai, a guy who’s been declared a sexually violent predator, is out on parole and may be housed, on the state’s dime, somewhere near the sheriff’s facility since no county wants him.
            So, here’s the question: What the hell is a two-striker rapist, declared a violent predator, doing out on the street in the first place?  Maybe the county needs amend the “Menacing and aggressive animal” ordinance to cover . . . people?    

No comments: