With the exception of terribly inclement weather or illness, I take my dog to the off-leash dog park every night. I do this because I don’t have a yard, and other than walking her five miles a day (which I’m not likely to do because I’m lazy and who has time for that?), it’s really the only way she gets any exercise. Plus, the social interaction is important, since dogs are pack animals. Also, I’m a total sucker. Around 5:30 pm on any given day, my dog starts pacing. She won’t stop pacing until we go to the dog park.
Below are the rules posted on the gate of my dog park. They might as well be in Sumerian for all they’re read and adhered to. Today’s list of dog park people deals with violators of these rules.
DOG DEFECATION IS TO BE IMMEDIATELY REMOVED BY OWNER.
There are many people who break this rule since navigating the dog park is like navigating a mine field where the mines are piles of crap instead of incendiary devices. Sometimes, your dog poops and you don’t notice it. It happens. This is when the people I call the Poop Patrol step in. They will let you know all about your dog’s poop. There always seems to be one member of the Poop Patrol on duty at any given time.
There’s one Poop Patroller at my dog park who speaks with a thick eastern European accent of some sort; possibly German, but I don’t want to presume. It seems she spends most of her time scanning for pooping dogs. Mid-poop, she will let you know you need to clean up after your dog by saying “You dog take a crap.” It sounds a lot like “you dowg tik a crep,” and then she’ll point to where the offending pile is. If you don’t immediately move to clean it up, she’ll repeat “you dowg tik a crep” until you do.
ALL DOGS OVER THE AGE OF FOUR MONTHS SHALL BE FULLY VACCINATED AND LICENSED. DOGS MUST WEAR COLLARS AND TAGS.
This one is probably the single most broken rule on the list. About half of the dogs at the park at any given time don’t have collars on for whatever reason. Out of the ones who are wearing collars, over half of those don’t have ID tags or licenses on them. I reckon less than 10% of all dogs that go to the dog park actually wear collars with license tags. My dog is part of that 10%.
One day, there was a dog loitering outside the gate without a human. Someone let him inside, because it was safer than having him wander the streets. He was wearing a collar and a leash, but there was no tag or license. What is the point of putting a collar on a dog if there’s no identifying information on it?
Almost an hour later, his owners showed up. They were moving from one apartment to another and had tied the dog to the fence, whereupon he Houdini’d his way loose.
If they had put an ID tag on him, we could have called and they would have had their dog back immediately. Instead, they drove around frantically looking for their dog for almost two hours.
ALL DOGS MUST BE SPAYED OR NEUTERED.
I cannot even begin to tell you how many dog balls I’ve seen at the dog park. I’m sure there are a lot of female dogs who haven’t been spayed at the dog park, too, but they’re harder to spot what with the lack of dangly balls.
The reason for rule #6 is that a lot of times, spayed or neutered dogs don’t take kindly to dogs with balls. It riles them all up, and that’s how some dog fights start. Can you really blame them?
Anyway, bringing a dog with balls into the dog park is against the law, but people do it all the time. They don’t fix their dogs for any number of reasons. Often, it’s expense, laziness or ignorance. Sometimes, they intend to breed them, because we totally need more amateur breeders in the world.
A lot of times, they’re waiting for their dogs to get old enough to neuter them. The people in that last category think you shouldn’t neuter a dog until they’re at least a year old or older. I don’t know what the correct procedure for ball-choppage is, since it’s been a very long time since I had a male dog, but I know many male dogs who were neutered before a year old and their heads didn’t explode or anything. The animal shelter spayed my dog when she was a month old, which by all accounts is far too young, and she’s fine, too.
In any event, whatever your opinion on the right age to spay or neuter, please, do. Also, please, don’t bring your intact dog to the dog park, for his or her own safety, if nothing else.
IN THE EVENT OF A DOG BITE OR INJURY, OWNER/GUARDIAN MUST EXCHANGE CURRENT TAG INFORMATION AND PHONE NUMBER.
Pffft. That’s funny.
My dog has a best friend who is almost her doppelgänger. Every time they’re there together, they play and they play hard. If you don’t know the dogs, you’d think they were actually trying to kill each other, but they’ve been playing like that for over two years and they love each other.
One day, my dog and her friend were playing when a stupid little Boston terrier decided he didn’t like their shenanigans and wanted to break it up. My dog is 70 lbs. Her best friend is over 80 lbs. The Boston terrier was small even for a Boston terrier. I’d say he wasn’t even 20 lbs. Derp.
So, this little shit went up to my much larger dog and bit her hind leg. My dog never starts a fight, but she’ll damn well finish one, so she went after the little shit. Look here, sir, I don’t appreciate you biting my leg when I’m playing with my friend. Kindly put your tiny head into my mouth, please.
In the process of trying to separate them, this happened:
That’s the back of my ankle sporting a rather large bite wound from a little shit of a dog. That fucker bit me! That bite was through a pair of jeans. Thankfully, I was wearing jeans or it would have been a lot worse. He might have ripped my Achilles tendon instead of my pants.
Owner of little shit 1) didn’t even ask if I was alright, even though I was clearly bleeding 2) refused to exchange information with me 3) refused to prove that her dog was licensed and therefore, current on his vaccinations and rabies shot (of course, the dog wasn’t wearing a collar) and 4) ran the fuck away!
Quite literally, she scooped her dog up and ran away like the sissy girl with the sissy dog that she is. One of the dog park regulars ran after her and took a picture of her license plate. Ha!
Fortunately, my sister is a nurse, so she kept a close eye on it until it healed. It did leave a lovely scar. By the way, I was the only one injured in that fight.
ABANDONING ANIMALS IS PROHIBITED.
This is the saddest rule that gets broken. I can think of at least three dogs who were found abandoned at the dog park.
One of the poor creatures had three broken legs. They figure someone dumped him on the street near the dog park–not even in, but near–and he got hit my a car. Fortunately for him, he was found by a really nice lady who fixed him up and kept him. He had to have major surgery and he will always walk with a limp, but he can walk, he’s still alive and he landed in the best possible home.
Two other dogs that I know of were adopted by dog park regulars who found them when inhuman scum dumped them there. I guess people are too afraid or lazy to drop animals at the shelter, so they leave them at the dog park. I suppose they reckon that people who come to the dog park are dog lovers, and therefore, they’re likely to take care of them, which as it turns out, is true, but that doesn’t make it right.