Wednesday, October 12, 2005

All Dogs Go to Hell

In my Walter Mitty moments, I imagine myself running for mayor of Minneapolis on a virulent anti-dog platform.

I would get the cat people behind me, as well as the nature preservationists, the noise pollution folks, maybe even the Animal Liberation Front. I would get hate mail from dog lovers worldwide, and the Westminster Kennel Club would run negative ads against me (“Wrong on dogs, wrong for Minneapolis”).

In the end of this fantasy, I squeak out a narrow victory and reach a compromise with the city council, enacting an ordinance that makes unchecked barking subject to a $10,000 fine and/or 60 days in an airline pet carrier.

If you can identify with this sentiment, then you understand why I welcome the coming winter, with its serene stifling of the yipping and yapping. And also why I was so excited about Saint Paul City Ordinance 200.14, enacted last spring, which states "it is unlawful for any person to own, keep, have in possession or harbor any dog which howls, yelps, or barks to the reasonable annoyance of any other person or persons."

Consider me reasonably annoyed -- in Minneapolis, unfortunately. Before you make any assumptions, however, let me state for the record that I like dogs. I owned a dog growing up, a fiesty beagle-basset-mutt mix that loved to eat broccoli and tree opossums on the backyard fence. I do, however, detest dog owners who (apparently) despise their own pets.

Why own a dog if you’re just going to chain it up in your front yard for hours -- starting at, say, 7 a.m. on a Saturday -- to bark and bark and bark, and then, for a change of pace, go completely berserk when someone walks by? Why own a dog that needs daily exercise if you have no intention of walking it? Why own a dog that needs room to run around if you own a two-bedroom bungalow on a postage-stamp lot?

Like this blog’s author, I’m a transplant to Minnesota. I grew up in California, where dogs can be what they are meant to be: outside animals.

So, closeted dog-haters who own dogs, I implore you: come out. Own up to your true feelings. Admit you made a mistake. You don’t have to drown it in the river these days. You can put it up for adoption.

I believe the "moving to a farm" story will still work.


Anonymous applebeetuna said...

I live in LA, CA, and I can tell you, it's great for dogs here. A couple blocks away from my house there's an off-leash dog park, where my little half-sister (she's three) loves going. And yet, every time I go to the liquor store, there's this dog fenced in the front yard of a neighbor's house, barking at me. WTF? It's two f***ing blocks away!

I sympathize with your blog totally.

12:07 PM  

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