We bought a house on a street that was a long court with two courts coming off of it. We were up at the top, and it was a great and safe place for my kids to walk our greyhound mix dog.
Until it wasn’t.
“That was a short walk,” I said when they trooped back into the house.
“There’s a loose pit bull on the corner of the first court,” they said. “We are afraid to walk past him.”
I stopped what I was doing and accompanied two of the kids down the street to check it out. Sure enough there was a young adult playing frisbee with his pit bull terrier. The dog was running into the street and into the court to retrieve it.
“Excuse me,” I said, keeping my distance. “My kids are afraid to walk past your loose dog.”
“Oh, he won’t hurt them,” the kid said.
I’d had one run-in with pit bulls before, one that made me run all the way home as a middle-aged adult.
“Well, they are still afraid,” I said.
The kid grabbed onto his dog’s collar until we passed by and then again when we came back.
Another neighbor let her dog out the front door every morning to pee and poop. Our greyhound barked through the fence, and the old dog wandered over to poop on our lawn, every single day.
I rang the neighbor’s doorbell.
“Do you know that your dog poops on my lawn every morning?” I asked.
“This is a country road,” she said.
“This is a city street,” I said, “with leash laws.”
The woman screamed at me as I walked back home.
My kids continued to be afraid of walking past the loose pitbull. I spoke to the young man again. He said he would do better about getting the dog when he saw my kids coming down the hill.
The next time my kids came back and said they couldn’t walk the dog, I called the animal control people to complain. They said they’d send someone out to talk to the young man. Back in those days, they still had funding for officers to do that. Someone came out and told the young guy he couldn’t let his pitbull run loose on the street.
The mother of that young man was angry. She stared me down for the rest of our time on that street. She had something like ten kids and was never home.
The other woman and her family with the old dog moved to another house where her dog could crap wherever it wanted without anyone complaining. Ironically, a few years later she came into my antique shop in our little downtown and bought two signs from me. Obviously, she didn’t recognize me, but my hands shook as I ran her credit card. Yup, that was her name on the front of the card.
Come on, people! Don’t think the laws apply to everyone but you. My kids deserved a street without big loose dogs, and I deserved a yard without a daily pooper crapping on it.
Most people would’ve avoided the confrontation. Hey, I taught junior high and high school for ten years. I earned a degree in confrontation. In the end, the students respected me for it.
The neighbors, not so much.