Tuesday, November 11, 2014

DADO-Inspired Laws

We are joining Tales from the Backroad and Heart Like a Dog in this Dumb Ass Dog Owner hop. DADOs are everywhere.

My job as animal control officer is to enforce all the animal-related laws in our city. People bitch when I write tickets, but the truth is every single one of those laws is in place because of a past Dumb Ass Dog Owner. Why else would someone go to the trouble of spelling out these "should-be-common-sense" laws in such detail? We have laws regarding:
 
Running at Large: In my city it's against the law for a dog (or cat) to be out in public by himself. So there's no confusion, the law specifies "any of the public streets, parks, playgrounds, alleys, beaches or vacant lots in the city."
 
Leashes: Our laws are very specific about this. It says no dog can be off the property of its owner without a leash. That includes all the public places listed above. Our law also specifies that the leash be "of dependable strength [and] not to exceed 12 feet in length." So no, that 20 foot clothesline doesn't count. The law also requires the leash to either be attached to an immovable object or "specifically held by a person capable of controlling the animal." Yes, people will get a ticket if their dog is dragging the leash behind him. Electronic leashes don't count either. People still argue with me. Those people are usually why this law was written in the first place. Dumb Asses.
 
Tethering: Despite my best efforts, our city still allows people to chain their dogs outside. I did, however, get the law to specify chain length (at least 10 feet with swivels on both ends) and weight (no more than 1/8 the animal's body weight). Tethered dogs must also have access to fresh water and shelter. You would think "well, duh." Unfortunately, there were several Dumb Ass Dog Owners here in town that prompted this law.
 
Poop: It should just be common courtesy to pick up after your dog. It's not. This is one of my biggest complaints. Our law says that if an animal poops anywhere other than the owner's private property it must be picked up immediately and "deposited in a trash container." If I catch the dumb asses who are leaving the bags of poo alongside the road I will write them tickets. Our city leaders were so concerned with poop that the law states that people walking a dog -- or cat -- anywhere other than their own property are required to carry "some sort of material, utensil, or suitable container with which to dispose of the defecation." Yes, I can write someone a ticket just for not having a bag. (I don't. Despite public opinion, I am not a Dog Nazi.)
 
Shelter: When I started working here there was a guy who kept his dogs in rabbit hutches. Since there was no ordinance prohibiting that, legally there was nothing I could do about it. Even more upsetting was the fact that I had to fight City Council to change the law to define a sufficient shelter as three walls, a roof and a floor, and it must be able to protect the animals from extreme temperatures and direct sunlight.
 
Sadly, in the past 10 years we've also had to write or change the laws making it illegal to:
  • Leave a dog in a hot car
  • Allow a dog to ride in the open bed of a pickup truck untethered
  • Fail to seek medical attention for sick or injured animals
  • Abandon an animal
  • Fail to provide sufficient, wholesome food and clean, potable water
  • Participate in dog fighting
  • Beat, torture or overburden an animal
  • Engage in sexual activity with an animal
I've learned that laws are written for the lowest common denominator. Unfortunately, sometimes these laws infringe upon the rights and sensibility of everybody else. So the next time you see a stupid law ask yourself "Which Dumb Ass inspired this one?"

 
Want more Dumb Ass Dog Owner stories? Want to share your own stories? Hop on! -- K