Thursday, June 19, 2014

Put Down The Dog And Step Away From The Trash Can

Ah, I love the Tribune's "County Roundup" section -- little snippets of news stories that, becuse they are snippets, intrigue for what's often missing.  Take the story a couple of days ago, "Shot fired over dog doo dispute." written by Cynthia Lambert. 

Seems a couple were walking down Santa Ynez St. (1100 block, here in Los Osos) and "noticed a sign warning people not to leave dog excrement in the garbage container . . " which, I presume was sitting out on the street.  The story isn't clear, but apparently there was a sign on (?), next to (?) the trash can saying not to dump dog doo in there.

Now, here's where the story gets interesting. According to the story, "When the man peered into the container, [Christopher Patrick ] Dierks (67), came out of the house and the two men started arguing. Dierks went back inside, came out with a 12-gage shotgun and fired one shot into the ground about 10 feet away from the couple"

No one was injured but Mr. Dierks got his behind arrested and taken to County Jail where he would be charged "with negligent discharge of a firearm and brandishing a firearm."

O.K., so far, so good, but here's a few puzzles.  Were the couple walking a dog at the time?  The story doesn't say.  If they weren't, if there was no dog with them, then why did the man peer into the trash can?  I mean, you're walking down the street, minding your own business, you don't have a dog, don't know anything about a dog, you see a trash can with a sign on it saying, "don't put dog doo in this thing," and so the very first thing you do is to immediately rush over to open the lid and peer in???

Looking for . . . . what? 

Unless you did have a dog with you and did drop a bag full of your dog doo into the can. Both of which Mr. Dierks likely saw, like maybe he was lurking by the front window, waiting to see if somebody would be stupid enough to take the bait and drop dog doo into a can saying "no dog doo."

But that will have to remain one of the mysteries of this story since the story makes no mention of the presence of a dog.

But we do know what happened next:  Mr. Dierks hollered at the couple for opening, for peering, for standing near his trash can, and the couple apparently started arguing  back.

Again, a mystery.  What kind of doofus, first peers into a trash can for no reason, then when told to Go away, Leave my trash can alone, Beat it! Shoo! starts back-talking?  Anyone with sense would say, Oops, Sorry, give a wave and keep walking.  Of course, anyone with any sense wouldn't be peering into trash cans in the first place.

And another mystery.  While it's very bad manners to drop your trash into other people's trash cans, is dog doo in a plastic bag worse by a factor of 10 than other noisome things that end up in trash cans?  So hideous it's worth getting a gun out?  After all, a garbage can isn't a dinner plate, so what's the difference?  Unless, of course, the doo in question isn't in a plastic bag but has been picked up in great goopy clumps with the bare hands and dumped in and scraped off onto the can lid.  But how likely is that?   

The rest of the story, of course, is clear.  Mr. Dierks goes and gets his 12-gage and fires it into the ground and gets his ass arrested -- a perfect NRA Poster Boy with anger issues, guilty of Walking While Stupid.  (Not that the trash-can-peerer is any Einstein either.)

End of story, except for the mystery: Where's the dog? Surely there had to be a dog.

Put Down The Coffee Cup And Step Away From Yer Mules. 

Yes,  another Walking While Stupid story. John C. Sears, "Mr. Mule Guy," who has been trekking all over the country with his mules, camping where he will, showed up in SLOTown and got arrested for "illegal camping." 

Naturally, he pitched a fit.  Went on his website -- --  and  Facebook page (Yes, this is a 21st Century story -- Crusty, Endearing, Old Western Trekking Coot w/Mules has a website and FB page) to whine and complain about how he, out of everyone in the world, should be allowed to camp anywhere he wanted to just because he's a Crusty, Endearing, Old Western Trekking Coot w/ Mules, Please Send Money.

What makes Coot so ridiculous -- besides his infantile belief in his own specialness -- is that he has full access via his social media to endless campsites from a variety of people who would love to host a Crusty Old Coot for overnight stays.  Instead, he chooses to play the victim in his own silly drama.  Like he's watched "Lonely Art The Brave" too many times and thinks he's Kirk Douglas.

Something a genuine Old Trekker would never think to do. They knew there's traveling smart and there's traveling dumb.  It's a lesson Mr. Sears apparently needs to learn.  Perhaps once he gets settled in a proper camping area and is sitting around the campfire staring at his mules, the ghost of old Jim Bridger will come pay him a visit and they can have a little chat before he heads off down the road.


Ron said...

Excellent post, Ann.

Ann writes:

"Were the couple walking a dog at the time?"

If they were, then I want to add an "animal cruelty" charge to ol' D's list.

Poor thing probably got permanent hearing damage, and a fear of going on walks, from being "10-feet" away from a 12-gage blast.

And, speaking of animals, and unanswered questions in a Trib story...

I like your timing on this post, Ann, because, after I read the Trib's story on the mule guy, I immediately had two excellent questions that were not addressed:

1) Really? People get arrested for violating SLO's no camping ordinance? That's not, like, a citation thing? Uh... damn. That sounds a bit harsh, if you ask me.


2) WTF happened to his mules after he was arrested? (And, frankly, I was shaking my head that the Trib's reporter didn't cover that important angle in the initial story.)

I mean, did Animal Control have to drive out some horse trailer, then round up the mules, haul them back to Kansas Avenue, house them, feed them, and then process the entire mess, before handing them back to Mule Dude, simply because Mule Dude violated SLO's no-camping ordinance?

Good god, how much did this arrest cost? The arrest seems kinda over-the-top, on many levels.

And does the City of SLO have to reimburse SLO County for the use of SLO County's Animal Control unit?

That'd be interesting to know, and the cost of the reimbursement. I'm sure the Trib will get right on that follow-up...not!

Ellen said...

Thank you for the belly laugh!!

Churadogs said...

Good questions. Another was, why an arrest in the first place? Like did Mr. Mule refuse to accept a citation? Give the cops some lip? Refuse to pack up and move?

And, yes, poor dog (IF there was a dog). Nothing like a shotgun blast in your ears whilst out walking on a quiet morning.

Ron said...

Ann writes:

"Another was, why an arrest in the first place? Like did Mr. Mule refuse to accept a citation? Give the cops some lip? Refuse to pack up and move? "

Excellent questions.

And I have another question: If they DID try to give him a citation, and he refused, or whatever, just how are those illegal camping citations supposed to work?

I mean: "Here's your citation for illegal camping, Mr. Mule Dude, and, yes, we are aware that it's 3:00 in the morning, but now you just have to wander the streets until daylight, and if you fall back asleep, we're gonna cite you again, or, more likely, haul you, and your mules, off to Kansas Avenue."

OR, do they hand out the citation, and then say something like, "O.K. now you can go back to your illegal camping. Have a nice night, Mr. Mule Dude."?

So many questions.

And I even have another question involving the dog-poop-trash-can peeking guy.

Ya know, according to the Trib's story, AFTER the dog-poop-trash-can peeking guy and ol' Chris got into their argument, ol' Chris had to go back into his house to get his 12-gauge.

"When the man peered into the container, Dierks came out of the house and the two men started arguing. Dierks went back inside, came out with a 12-gauge shotgun and fired one shot into the ground about 10 feet away from the couple."

Soooooo.... what? Dog-poop-trash-can peeking guy thought it would be a good idea to just hang out and wait for the dude who was just screaming at him to come back out of his house?

Uh, hey Dog-poop-trash-can peeking guy: What did you think ol' Chris was going back into the house to get -- some coffee and f-ing doughnuts?

And DPTCP Guy just hung out and waited for Dierks to come back? Huh?

As "Better call Saul" Goodman would've advised, "Escalating! Escalating!"

Churadogs said...

"Escalating! Escalating! indeed. I don't think either of these two Dog Goo Doofuses was operating on a full tank of gas. And one of them is exactly the kind of guy who should never be allowed to own a gun of any kind. Or anything with a sharp edge or pointy point.

Re Mule & Citations: I would hope that the procedure would be: 1. information (Can't camp here) and instructions (move along) 2. Refusal to do so, or "moving along" then returning to the spot the next night (or an hour later) = citation. 3. refusal to move along at that point and or giving officers any gruff = arrest.(Of course, if there were a sign at the site saying No Camping, a citation would be automatic, as in getting a parking ticket -- no questions asked, unless you're there to plead with the officer and get lucky.) It's the arrest part that gets interesting. One of those Tribune mysteries for which the Trib is famous.

Ron said...

Ann writes:

"2. Refusal to do so, or "moving along" then returning to the spot the next night (or an hour later) = citation."

And that's exactly where I have my question.

Say, for example, it's 2:00 a.m., and the cops come across some guy sleeping in Mitchell Park, and the cops do their "information (Can't camp here) and instructions (move along)."

Does that guy now just have to wander the streets until daylight in order to not be in violation of the illegal camping ordinance?

What if he just sits on a park bench, awake? That's not illegal, is it?

It sounds like a more accurate title for the ordinance would be the "Illegal Sleeping Ordinance."

Jeeze. What SLO is doing with that ordinance is starting to sound kinda "cruel and unusual."

And THAT's why I'm now wondering if that's why the Mule Dude was arrested. Maybe that's just the way the SLOPD handles ALL illegal camping cases -- straight to jail -- because what else are they going to do? Force the guy to go sleepless, and wander the streets for hours?

I call that "torture" (or, as Dick Cheney and Condie Rice would call it, "enhanced interrogation").

The only other option, it seems, is to cite the illegal sleeper, and then just simply let him go back to his illegal sleeping, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

So, the enforcement on the illegal camping just seems so cruel. It seems like the only two options are forced sleeplessness (aka: torture), or a night in the pookie -- where the illegal sleeper is handcuffed, transported, processed, and locked up, AND if they happen to have a dog (or mules) then Animal Control is called out (at 2:00 a.m.), and the dog is jammed into a dark, tiny cage, and driven to dog-hell -- which seems like an awfully harsh (and public-funds-expensive) penalty just because someone fell asleep in the wrong place.

Now that'd be an interesting story for the Trib: Exactly how does the SLOPD handle illegal sleeping cases?