"Meatball" is a 50 lb black pit bull that runs loose in the woods almost every day for the past 3 weeks or so. He loves visiting the back fences of all the yards in our subdivision, especially mine, which sets off a huge ruckus with all the dogs in the neighborhood. When he comes by, Max and Willow go crazy with their high shrill barking, Fooh Fooh growls and barks like mad, and Lucky just sails over our 5 foot cow fence and runs off in the woods to chase Meatball away. Whatever I'm doing at the moment, I have to quit immediately and go deal with "the Meatball issue".
How did I learn Meatball's name, you might wonder. Well, two days ago a young man sachets by looking for his dog -- about 24 years old, living with his grandmother about 5 houses down, with his girlfriend and baby, and of course, no job. A seemingly intelligent young man, well spoken and mild mannered. I had just put treats in my pocket, boots on my feet, gotten Fooh Fooh's slip leash, and was headed to the woods with Lucky at my side, to catch Meatball. The man joined me, and we finally got control of his dog. I asked him why he didn't bring a leash, and why Meatball wasn't wearing a collar. He said he had a collar but leaves it attached to the chain around the tree, doesn't have a leash, doesn't have a fence, the dog is not neutered, doesn't have his rabies shots "because I can't afford it". He chains the dog up, but either he keeps getting tangled up in the chain or he slips out of the collar, so he "doesn't like to use that".
I gave him my schpeal about "Responsible Pet Ownership" and sent him on his way, with the warning that if I saw Meatball roaming free again I would have to call Animal Control.
I had a one day reprieve. Then today, the ruckus started again and before I knew it, Lucky was over the fence again and disappeared into the woods. On with my boots, out the gate, into the woods, calling "Lucky, come". She was already far, far off but she came to my call. We've been practicing that. I couldn't fuss her for coming when called but I brought her in the yard and put her on her 10' wire. About 10 minutes later the ruckus starts again, Lucky takes a running leap off the porch towards the fence without realizing she is tethered, gets caught by her collar and her whole body flips up about 3 feet in the air and around in a big circle. I saw it happen and was afraid her neck would snap. I bet she is bruised. Then I saw Meatball along the fence line, still with no collar, and I was instantly furious. Didn't I just warn that idiot what I would do? I called Animal Control for directions. They want me to find out the guy's address, they will send someone out to "talk to him". Or, I can capture the dog and they will come pick him up.
A few hours later, visiting with a neighbor on my front porch while pottying my dogs, here comes Meatball and all hell breaks loose again. Had to crate Lucky in a hurry, and by the time I came back out with the slip leash Meatball was gone. But I learned from Laura that he had her and her kids pinned in their car a few nights while "a big black dog" without a collar circled around them. Not knowing his demeanor, they played it safe.
I just want to slap this guy. I hope Animal Control slaps a huge fine on him, and if he doesn't conform immediately, takes the dog away. He said he had "rescued" Meatball from the pound about 3 weeks ago. Some rescue, eh? It doesn't tally. Doesn't the pound give shots and neuter all their dogs before letting them go? Don't they screen prospective owners and charge them a fee? My hunch is Meatball was found on the side of the road, like Lucky, and passed from owner to owner, and has not yet seen a vet, a clinic, or a pound. He is probably full of worms.
People think they can just "have a dog". First, a dog is an intelligent being. Second, there is a social responsibility. Animal care has such a pivotal effect on civilized society, I think "responsible pet ownership" should be taught in grade school. Isn't "civilization" what we teach in school? You are taught to read, write and cipher so you can support yourself, vote, and serve your community? We are taught how to sing, play an instrument, manage our computers, manage our tempers, calculate. We learn about human rights. What about animal rights? If they put me in charge, this course would not be "optional" or left to the private sector to teach.
This was not how I intended to spend my day. But it has got me to thinking about the importance of Animal Control's job in a civilized society. How nowadays we don't see packs of hungry dogs running the streets like in India, or individual mangy ones like I used to see when I was a child growing up in rural Slidell. I bet the Romans had some version of Animal Control, though I've never read a thing about it. Why not?