Ahhh, spring: A day at the park
Days like yesterday (and let’s hope that kind of weather holds out for today’s March for the Animals) are meant to be enjoyed, so we got up early and headed to Baltimore’s Riverside Park with Ace and Eli (a visiting dog) to soak up some sun, take care of business, and pitch in with a park clean-up that was getting underway.
We filled a couple of trash bags with the shrapnel of urban life — discarded socks, potato chip wrappers, tiny zip lock drug baggies, condom wrappers, cigarette butts, beer cans, diapers and more.
Among the handfuls of debris I was picking up — some mysterious, some identifiable — was this, a fortune cookie fortune, which said:
How cool would it be, I thought to myself, to get two more dogs, and name them “Excitement” and “Intrigue?” Then they could follow me wherever I went. (I didn’t play the lucky numbers, but feel free to try them if you like.)
Returning to the task at hand — bending over, picking up, bagging — I noticed I was having a hard time keeping my pants up (a common ailment among men as they get older and fatter). So I took Ace’s leash, put it through my pants loops and used it for the belt I forgot to put on that morning (forgetting being another common ailment among old fat men). Cinching it tight, I continued with trash patrol.
Our bags nearly full, we stopped and visited with the bench-painting detail, where Ace supervised as a fresh coat of park green was applied.
After that, we made a loop around the park, stopping to talk to Athena, a mastiff friend. As we chatted, Ace, tired from all the work, decided to lay down. He was about ten inches from feet — and still unleashed — when what to my wondering eyes should appear but:
The officer rolled to a stop. “Better get that dog on a leash,” he said. “There’s a $1,000 fine.”
I immediately complied, figuring the penalty for losing my pants wouldn’t be nearly that much. And while I’m thankful for not getting a citation, I couldn’t help but wonder a bit about our city’s priorities. It’s not so much that I was fingered while exhibiting — like many other dog owners involved in the cleanup — some civic responsibility. It’s just that, based on what was in my bag, the park, like the city, has bigger problems than an unleashed dog laying 10 inches from his guardian’s feet.
In a park where drug dealers regularly conduct their business, and hookers turn tricks in the porta-pots, having police crack down on unleashed dogs seems almost comedic.
As we completed our loop around the park, I noticed the officer had made a loop as well, and — unless I was being paranoid — seemed to be keeping an eye on me.
I was being followed, alright. But it was by neither excitement nor intrigue. It was the Baltimore Police Department.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 19th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: baltimore, city, city council, cleanup, condoms, crime, debris, dog, dogs, dogwalkers, drug baggies, drug dealers, fines, garbage, grime, hookers, leash law, life, one thousand dollar fines, parks, penalties, police, riverside, trash, unleashed, urban