Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Repeat Customers

Brown dog with yellow eyes -- NOT Bear
One of the perks of working in a small town is that you deal with the same people all the time. This allows officers to develop relationships with residents. Already knowing the history of a situation, neighborhood, or animal can speed up service time. It can also be exhausting. Dealing with the same lonely, irresponsible, irrational or downright crazy people over and over has caused quite a few headaches.

A while back I told you about Ms. Russo and her cat Snowball. Well, she's back -- this time with her dog Bear.

In a nutshell: Bear is missing. She left him in the yard while she was running errands. Bear got out and was found by a neighbor six blocks away. The neighbor put Bear back in the yard, but he got out again before Ms. Russo returned. He's been missing for two weeks now. Ms. Russo calls at least twice a day. She'll spend ten minutes telling me about how much she misses her dog and spend another fifteen minutes about her health problems. She repeats herself often, but rarely makes sense. Here are some of the things she's said:
  • No, she doesn't have any pictures of her dog. The phone company made her change phones three months ago and she can't get pictures off the old one. No, she can't transfer them to her computer because Hurricane Matthew ruined it last October. And no, she can't go to Walgreens and use the kiosk because she's dying of cancer. (BTW, she's been dying of cancer -- and telling me about it -- for 10 years.)
  • Bear is a brownish lab/pit mix. You can't miss him, he has "yella eyes." She has never seen a dog with yellow eyes so he's special. She asked me if I've ever seen a dog with yellow eyes and then called me I liar when I said yes.
  • She doesn't know how old Bear is (maybe two) and says he's 140 pounds. No, she's not exaggerating about the weight. No, she doesn't have a vet I can call to get additional information. She doesn't have time to go to the vet, she's dying of cancer.
  • No, Bear's not neutered, and she's not going to do it either because "he has the most beautiful balls you've ever seen on a dog." (Ick!) No, she doesn't plan on breeding him, but thinks its a shame to "remove something so beautiful."
  • How DARE I suggest she widen her search area because Bear could be out looking for girls in heat? He's a puppy, he wouldn't do that! (I told her that she may think he's a puppy, but his testicles say he's a full-grown, intact male.)
  • Yes, the dog was wearing a collar and tags. The address is correct, but the phone number is wrong because the phone company made her change number, remember? No, she hasn't had time to buy a new tag -- she's dying of cancer.
  • She doesn't know if he has a microchip because "he was a gift." She wouldn't say from whom. No vet records accompanied the dog.
  • He's worth $40,000 because he's her service dog. No, she can't tell you what services he's been trained to perform. Nor can she explain why she left her service dog in her yard.
  • It's not her fault that her dog got out. People keep opening her gate. The police should be doing something about that!
  • It's not possible that her dog jumped over the 4-foot chain link fence. He's a good boy. She tells him to guard the house when she leaves, and she knows he lays in front of the gate the entire time she's gone. When I reminded her that it's August -- in Florida -- and suggested Bear would be safer and more comfortable inside she changed the subject. She knows that I know she's a hoarder. 
  • Bear has never gotten out before When pressed, she admitted to: the time that the other ACO wrote her a ticket; the time her neighbor called animal control about her dog running loose; and the time she called the police because the guy across the street had her dog. (BTW, "That guy has a female pit bull. He just built a 6' wooden fence and put up 'Beware of Dog' signs. That's suspicious. The police should go see if he has Bear. I bet he wants to mate them.")
  • And my favorite: maybe the neighbor who found Bear last time came back and stole him. She keeps calling them but they hang up on her.
It's Buddy now
Ms. Russo tied a leash to her gate. If we find Bear she wants us to bring him home and attach him to the leash because she's "never gone long" -- despite the fact that he got out twice during her last trip. I told her no. Obviously the dog is too smart for her fence. We will hold Bear in our kennel until we give him to her directly. She's upset because that would involve a ticket for impound and boarding -- and she's dying of cancer.

Ms. Russo constantly tells me that doesn't understand why Animal Control can't find her dog. She pays taxes! She also can't see where she has any culpability. 

My personal feeling: Bear realized that this woman is a nut job -- dogs aren't stupid -- and when he saw an opening he ran as fast as he could. He has changed his name to Buddy and is living somewhere on the other side of town. -- K

P.S. As usual, the story is true but names and identifying facts have been changed to cover my ass. Also, "Buddy" is wearing a disguise for his protection.