Friday, October 17, 2014

Insult to injury: A chance for recreational outrage

As we all know, sidewalk parking is my personal hill to die on. People in my city regularly park on the sidewalk. Sometimes they leave room for a single-width stroller, sometimes not even that. I started a one-woman crusade last year and ended up getting the police to start issuing tickets, so the problem has been greatly reduced. But I still have to call the cops sometimes. 

But there is this one house on my route to and from school. It's a multi-family, and one of the families has an absolutely terrifying dog. It's pitbull-esque, and it does not care for strangers walking on the sidewalk in front of its house. The yard is fenced in, but it's a chain-link fence that is right up against the sidewalk. When the dog is outside, it is never tied up and if it sees you walking by the house it runs up to the fence and stands on its hind legs - which brings its head higher than the fence, mind you - and tries to chew your face off. Or at least it SEEMS like it's trying to chew your face off. It appears that it wants nothing more than to chew your face off. It snarls, barks, growls, and scrabbles at the fence, trying to get out. 

I have a fear of dogs anyway, so I am unable to walk by this dog when it's clambering up the fence like that. I just cannot do it. At a minimum, I have to walk into the street so I can put some distance between me and the slavering jaws. When I'm with the kids, I usually cross the street - which means walking in front of the weirdo house with huge bushes that block the entire house from view and protrude into the sidewalk forcing me to duck as I walk by! Just as bad as sidewalk parking! -  but I hate that I am forced to do that. And I hate that stupid dog. I HATE that dog. 

Lest you get the wrong impression, I have not called the cops on these people. The dog is always contained in the yard. I understand rationally that the dog cannot get out, and that these people are not breaking any laws by having a mean dog. But the thing about an irrational fear is that it is irrational, so I can't just explain to myself that it's perfectly safe to walk by a a dog whose bared fangs are inches from my head. 

But I think these dog owners are terrible people. I think that if you are going to have a dog and not train that dog to allow people to pass by your property using the public sidewalk, then you should have the common courtesy to make sure the fence is at least set back from the sidewalk! Am I alone in this? Are there dog lovers or owners out there who have an opinion on this?

Also, one time I was walking the kids home from school and the dog surprised us as we got to the fence. I startled and ran with the stroller, but Nora startled and ran INTO THE STREET and FELL DOWN and the owner was outside and my, how he chuckled. Yes, all very hilarious. Especially when I tried to go get Nora, but we were on a hill, so the stroller started to roll and I had to leave Nora screaming in the street in order to stop Ann Marie from rolling away. 

So no, these people are not my favorites. 

But! Sidewalk parking! This is how they park:

There is room to get a single stroller through there, but the cars on the sidewalk force us right up against the fence where the dog leaps up and tries to kill us. 

I actually came across the dog owner outside with no dog on Wednesday took the opportunity to ask him if he could stop parking like that because his dog is terrifying and my children and I don't like having to walk right next to it. Unfortunately, that was not his car; it belongs to the guy who lives downstairs. He said he'd talk to him. It obviously went very well. 

So who wants to leave me a comment about how these people are terrible and their dog is terrible?