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Animal Control: Stuck in the mud


Here’s a nutty, and muddy,  little story — one we’ll tell in pictures and words.


All the pictures were taken Sunday, at Riverside Park in Baltimore, where after three straight days of rain, sunny skies had finally prevailed, along with temperatures so toasty that the squirrels took a break from hoarding their nuts to eat some, and the homeless guys — usually homelessguy1up and gone by mid-morning — slept in.

It was really more like a spring day, except for  the turning leaves, hitting their peak of redness on some trees, burning bright orange on others. Those already brown and fallen, after three days soggy, were starting to regain their crunch under the warming sun.

Football and softball games were getting underway on the sports fields — never mind the puddles. Parents and children filled the swings and slides in the fenced-in play area. 


And dog walkers were out in abundance — some with their pets on leash, some of whom had let them off, which, in this particular park, as of now, is against the law.

Nevertheless, a lot of us do it — keeping an eye out for the white animal control van while we let our dogs enjoy a little freedom, exercise and squirrel chasing.

It was one of those free and easy, good to be alive, laid back Sunday mornings — quiet but for the happy squeals of children, the chirping of squirrels and that thwickety thwickety noise of dogs charging through piles of leaves — when what should appear but …

DSC07382The white animal control van. Usually the animal control van keeps to the paved paths, stopping to warn those with their dogs off leash to hook them up, sometimes writing citations, which carry a $200 fine.

This animal control van was — for reasons unknown — driving through the grass, which, in addition to not being good for the grass, could prove problematic for homeless guys sleeping thereon, not to mention children playing, families picnicking, or squirrels a scurrying.


Anyway, the animal control officer pulled his van to a halt in the grass, apparently to confront some lawbreakers, and when the time came to leave, he couldn’t. The van’s back wheels became mired in the mud, sinking deeper the more they spun.

stuckvanThe officer called for a tow truck and, about an hour later, one arrived. Its operator attached a chain to the animal control van’s axle and hoisted it out of the muck.

While his van was being saved, the animal control officer found the time to take some photos of off-leash dogs running in the distance. That’s what his camera was pointed at, at least. Then again, maybe he was just shooting the foliage.

acphotoOnce freed, the van departed the park, leaving some big muddy ruts behind.

It’s unknown if the animal control officer issued any citations Sunday morning — and if so, whether the revenue those bring in will be enough to cover the towing fee and other damages left in the wake of his morning patrol.

After freeing the bogged down animal control van, the tow truck operator acccidentally hit a bolted-to-the-ground trash can, which he then used his truck to bend back into an upright position before pulling off.

garbagecanMaybe sending animal control officers to hunt for unleashed dogs walking in parks with their owners — as opposed to cracking down on abuse, neglect and dogfighting — is a legitimate use of their time. Maybe citing the owners of dogs who are bothering no one, and who no one has, specifically, complained about, makes the city a safer place. Maybe it’s not just a heavy-handed, wheel-spinning waste of tax dollars.

But the only visible marks left by yesterday’s patrol were these:








(Photos by John Woestendiek/ohmidog!)


Comment from A Morgan
Time November 16, 2009 at 1:18 pm

dog control officers huh, remind you of anyone ??

Comment from Dizzy
Time November 16, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Great post! It says so much about B’more. I love this city and I love our park. However, it does seem like a little common sense would go a long way.

Comment from Angry Riverside Resident
Time November 16, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Thank you for blogging about this! I hope everyone will write the mayor (mayor@baltimorecity.gov) and Councilman Reisinger (edward.reisinger@baltimorecity.gov) to complain and remind them that it was our neighborhood volunteers (FORP) who raised the money to pay for those trash cans, who installed them, and who continue to maintain them. The city has no business destroying our community’s assets.

Comment from baltimoregal
Time November 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Definitely an effective use of taxpayer resources.

Comment from Riverside Resident
Time November 16, 2009 at 5:41 pm

It’s hard enough keeping today’s angry youth from destroying and defacing our parks and neighborhoods.
Stinks even more when a city employee’s actions result in destruction.
Very disappointing. I think they should be fined…

Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time November 16, 2009 at 10:34 pm

I just got home from three days of wedding festivities that basically involved a hotel that was dog friendly but charged too much for Internet privileges. All I could think of was that his karma ran over his dogma…

Comment from Randolph
Time November 17, 2009 at 4:38 am

Thank you for the wonderful photos of fall in Baltimore. As a Manhattan dog we have our share of park-related official hazards of the city revenue-raising, animal-taxing kind, but one positive aspect is that there are no vans and our park employees (who are usually very dog friendly) seem to drive around in lawn-friendly golf carts (less chance of getting stuck and easier to tow if they do).

Comment from anon
Time November 18, 2009 at 1:44 pm

now all of you complain about the officer being there taking photos and writing citations to people who break the law, but you see no problem in having a police officer write a ticket for parking issues and speeders. When a dog who is off the leash attacks another animal or your child, understand that it is animal control who will be at your aid. Give them some respect.

Comment from Jason Meacham
Time November 23, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Let me ask this question what if a dog attacks another dog or attacks a child that was playing in that park then what are you going to say and do, but jump on here and complain about what the bureau of animal control is not doing any and where were they when this happen but there are signs at every city park in the city that says that your dog must be leashed at all times and it is a city law so every person that gets on here and complains and moans about nothing is in violations