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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

So... the dog poop post

One of the pet peeves (pun intended) I included in my list yesterday was that of dog owners who don't pick up after their charges.  In it, I made reference to an incident which took place almost five years ago... and which I fully expected would  land me in hot water.  Read the original post (below) and then see the post-script that I deliberately omitted back then:

Going to the dogs

[originally posted here in November of 2005)

There is a hot-button issue in my community that periodically gets the emails flying and the tempers flaring.  It isn't a political or a religious issue...  and this issue has no right or left side.

The issue that is able to get nearly everyone's panties in a bunch is dogs.  Well actually, not dogs in general (although there are those who object to the very existence of the canine species) but rather a couple of specific issues related to dogs:

First is the issue of Stray/loose dogs.  Israel's problem with feral cats tends to eclipse the nuisance value of nearly every other animal species, but in truth there are many places in the country with a very real problem with feral and/or loose dogs.

My town, like many relatively affluent communities, has a fairly high number of pet dogs.  I make the connection between relative affluence and dog ownership because it makes no sense to host a perfectly tuned protein digestion machine under one's roof if putting protein on one's table is sometimes an 'iffy' thing. 

So with the relatively large number of dog owners in Efrat, it is inevitable that there are going to be a few (OK, a bunch) that are not the most responsible people on the planet.  Many dog owners don't spay/neuter their pets, and many of these make only a token attempt to keep their dogs at home.

Add to this the fact that there are plenty of feral dogs from the surrounding Arab communities that come to Efrat for its superior culinary and romantic opportunities, and you have a problem of ever-expanding proportions.

The second issue, which is tangentially related to the first, is that of dog sh*t.

Not only do the strays avail themselves of our streets for the purposes of completing the digestive process, but many dog owners who responsibly keep their pets on leashes refuse to pick up after their own dogs!

One particularly memorable Friday morning I was playing center field in a pick-up softball game on the town's baseball field.  In the middle of the game a 30-something woman walked her German Shepherd right through the outfield and stood patiently by while it deposited an ankle-high, steaming, Tom Carvel-worthy pile of crap within 3 feet of where I stood.  When the dog had finished its business the two of them calmly began walking away.

I called time out and yelled after the woman to pick up her dog's mess.  With the two teams watching, she indignantly said, "This is a public place, I don't have to!". and turned again to walk away.

I'm not normally in the habit of threatening women, but I very calmly got her attention by saying, "Lady, you are going to take your dog's sh*t with you... it's up to you whether you carry it off the field wrapped in a piece of paper or smeared across the back of your sweater".

She began shrieking that she would call the police and that I had no right to threaten her.  But she didn't walk away, either.

We waited there staring at each other for almost a full minute without speaking... with two teams of softball players waiting to see how things would play out... and then I finally said, "Nu... time to choose... paper or sweater?"

With an enormous amount of dignity (nobody does dignity like an angry Israeli) she picked up an old windshield leaflet that was laying on the ground nearby, scooped up the crap and walked off the field.  Her parting gesture was to look pointedly back at me and toss the crap - paper and all - into a bush at the edge of the field. 

I'm sure in her mind she showed me!  [* see postscript below for the real ending]

As most of you know, I am a dog owner.  Like most dog owners I have a blind spot when it comes to many of the fears and neuroses that some people have about dogs.  But that doesn't mean I let my dog run wild or leave land mines on which unsuspecting pedestrians might tread.

I know that some communities have enacted stiff ordinances to deal with some of these issues and some have even gone so far as to put up little dispensers containing plastic glove/bags with which to clean up after one's pet.  These are all good ideas, but I'm wondering how to overcome the nearly universal Israeli willingness to overlook 'quality of life' ordinances in the face of a nearly universal Israeli municipal unwillingness to enforce such statutes.

Suggestions are welcome.

* postscript:  Back when I wrote that post I was worried that, even though there were witnesses to everything that transpired, if I published the entire incident, it would be inviting prosecution.  I'm not sure what the statute of limitations is on sh*t-slinging, but I assume it has expired by now.

When that lady looked back at me and pointedly tossed the dog crap and paper into the bushes at the edge of the ball-field I kinda lost my mind.  Even though a bunch of the guys were calling after me to forget her and get on with the game, I ran after her... picked up the dog crap (yes, in my bare hand)... jogged after the miscreant... and when I caught up with her on the street nearby, gave her a nice long sh*t-stripe down the back of her sweater.

The result was predictably satisfying, but it triggered the equally expected threats of police intervention and law suits.  I told her to 'bring it on' and went back to resume the game... feeling considerably less confident than I was acting.

In the end, although I played the rest of the softball game fully expecting the police (or at least the woman's husband) to pull up at any moment... nothing happened.  The blog post I wrote was meant to state my case (and her offenses) in the off chance that she decided to press charges... but I deliberately omitted the last part since nobody had seen it happen and I thought it would be unwise to hand her a signed confession (in case she was still on the fence over whether to call the authorities).

I'm not proud of what I did, but I'm not sure I wouldn't do it again under identical circumstances.  In fact, I'm fairly certain I would. 

As I said yesterday... 'don't trifle with me people'.  :-)

Posted by David Bogner on July 14, 2010 | Permalink

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Hilarious! This woman must have realized that she shouldn't have messed this up.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Jul 14, 2010 3:13:18 PM

This reminds me of the time I was working retail at an organic bread bakery in Park Slope. I promise you I had the cheeriest disposition behind the counter and I was nothing short of delightful and overly accommodating to every single customer. That said, one day a man came in with a chip on his shoulder the size of the hunk of meat that toppled Fred Flintstone's car...he was so acerbic and flat out nasty to me, I just bit my tongue for as long as I could take it, and then he said something in a threatening tone and I told him to get out of the store, he threatened to report me to my bosses as he was grumblingly (not a word, I know) walking out, and since the door was wide open and I was ready to jump over the counter and strangle him, I instead grabbed a flying saucer-sized chocolate chip cookie from a nearby glass jar and flung it right at his head. Unfortunately I was off by a couple of centimeters, since the thing sailed over his head -- whoooosh -- and landed in the street. Like you, I was also expecting some kind of recourse, that the cops would show up (for the offense of throwing a cookie over this man's head!) or my bosses would can me. Fortunately nothing ever happened, but my blood sure was pumping, and I was all ready to defend myself because I knew I wasn't in the wrong, and my co-worker, one of my best friends, who witnessed the whole thing, would have defended me, particularly since if it were she who was helping this ingrate with his purchase, she would have jumped over the counter and then there would have been blood.

Posted by: Erica | Jul 14, 2010 4:11:33 PM

I'd say that you immensely increased her pullover viscosity.

Posted by: Jacob (We Are Government) | Jul 14, 2010 4:14:02 PM

You should have rubbed it in her hair.


You are my inspiration...I almost did somthing once and then chickened out.

I saw a dog do a huge poop on the street and then followed him home. I registered where he lived and then went home and emptied my cat litter box (with crap and pee) into a plastic bag fully intending to dump the entire contents in front of their door.
But then I stopped because I thought, maybe just maybe the dog stopped in front of a door that wasn't his.

I still dream about it. One day, one dog too many and I'll do it...

Posted by: Naomi | Jul 14, 2010 4:15:43 PM

holy crap!

Posted by: fred | Jul 14, 2010 6:09:53 PM

She was oblivious to the danger of walking onto the field during the game, and rude to leave crap to be trod on by the players.But,as long as it was deposited in a bush,I would have yelled at her,but wouldn`t have pursued her.

Posted by: ED | Jul 14, 2010 6:54:20 PM

Here's the question that comes into my head. I'm playing catcher and a runner is heading home from third base. The throw comes in from center field. Do I want to catch the ball?

Posted by: dd | Jul 14, 2010 7:15:56 PM

This is excellent! I wish I had the guts to do that. Well, I kinda do do that. (haha I said do do). anyway, back to being an adult, when I cross a street and people turn the corner right in front of me as if hitting me wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, I either kick their car or punch the trunk. It's just my way of saying "F&%K YOU!"

Posted by: Yehuda Miller | Jul 14, 2010 7:22:54 PM

remind me not to play softball with you if there are any pet owners about. or at least to bring a supply of Purell along. ;o/

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jul 14, 2010 11:33:58 PM

You realize that by writing a post with subject matter like this, you are encroaching on my Bloggy Territory. I am so pleased.

Posted by: Elisson | Jul 15, 2010 3:14:08 AM

My granddaddy used to keep a BB gun to shoot dogs that did that in his yard. He'd pump it up just enough to sting them but not cause any injuries. I still have it in my gun safe. It's a family heirloom now. :)

Posted by: Karl Newman | Jul 15, 2010 11:38:20 AM

*clap clap CLAP* nice! What an awesome revenge fantasy come to life. Thanks for sharing! (Yes I know, you're a giver ... especially to that lady, haha.)

Posted by: Chantal | Jul 15, 2010 11:47:05 PM

*clap clap CLAP* nice! What an awesome revenge fantasy come to life. Thanks for sharing! (Yes I know, you're a giver ... especially to that lady, haha.)

Posted by: Chantal | Jul 15, 2010 11:47:05 PM

Trifle as a euphemism.........great writing

Posted by: Shmiel | Jul 16, 2010 3:01:33 AM

I am taking a wild guess here: she didn't ever do that again while you were in that field, eh?

Sometimes people need to be physically reminded that they live on a planet with other people.

Posted by: bernie | Jul 16, 2010 10:52:45 PM

EWWWWWWWWWWWW.

What I want to know is, had you already figured out where you were going to wash your hands afterward?

That's just gross. What did Zahava say?

Posted by: uberimma | Jul 21, 2010 8:10:09 AM

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