In fact, he’d prefer it if you’d keep your dog to yourself — out of the park he wants to read in, away from the cafe where he enjoys his Frappuccino, and definitely not in the gym in which he works out.
It was a case of the latter that triggered a well-written, semi-playful, anti-dog diatribe he wrote for Slate last week.
Manjoo argued that dogs are getting too many privileges. He pointed out that not everybody enjoys their presence, cited health hazards they could conceivably pose, and suggested all those people who take their dogs everywhere start leaving them at home.
Not sharing one’s dog? To me, that’s the equivalent of hiding a Van Gogh behind an ironing board in the basement. Or putting a newfound cure for cancer in a time capsule. Or shielding your eyes — just to be safe — from a blazing sunset.
Still, we’d defend Manjoo’s preference to live life without somebody else’s dog in his face. That’s his right. It’s his loss, but it’s also his right.
Manjoo is Slate‘s technology columnist and the author of True Enough: Learning To Live in a Post-Fact Society. So it doesn’t surprise me — he being caught up in all things digital — that he has failed to catch on to or be captivated by the wonder of dogs.
Microchipping aside, dogs and technology are best kept separate. They don’t always get along, maybe because they are the antithesis of each other. Technology may be the cure for everything, but dogs are the cure for technology. We’ll get back to this point, but first let’s look at what Manjoo said — after an unwanted encounter with a Doberman inside his gym.
“The dog came up to me, because in my experience that’s what dogs do when you don’t want them to come up to you. They get up real close, touching you, licking you, theatrically begging you to respond… I guess I was fairly sure he wouldn’t snap and bite me, but stranger things have happened — for instance, dogs snapping and biting people all the time.
“Why was this dog here? And why was no one perturbed that this dog was here?
“…No one was asking because no one could ask. Sometime in the last decade, dogs achieved dominion over urban America. They are everywhere now, allowed in places that used to belong exclusively to humans, and sometimes only to human adults: the office, restaurants, museums, buses, trains, malls, supermarkets, barber shops, banks, post offices… Dogs are frequently allowed to wander off leash, to run toward you and around you, to run across the baseball field or basketball court, to get up in your grill. Even worse than the dogs are the owners, who seem never to consider whether there may be people in the gym/office/restaurant/museum who do not care to be in close proximity to their dogs. …”
Manjoo admits to not being a dog person, but at least — unlike most anti-dog types — he has a sense of humor about it.
“It’s not that I actively despise mutts; I just don’t have much time for them, in the same way I don’t have time for crossword puzzles or Maroon 5,” he writes.
“But here’s my problem: There’s now a cultural assumption that everyone must love dogs. Dog owners are rarely forced to reckon with the idea that there are people who aren’t enthralled by their furry friends, and that taking their dogs everywhere might not be completely pleasant for these folks.”
And seldom, he points out, does anyone whose dog accosts him say they’re sorry.
“… I can promise you she won’t apologize for the imposition. Nor will she ask you if you mind her dog doing what he’s doing. Nor will she pull on its leash, because there won’t be a leash, this being an office, where dogs are as welcome as Wi-Fi and free coffee.”
The same holds true, he notes, at coffee houses.
Here we should point out that the dog pictured atop this post is mine, and that, in the photo, Ace is enjoying an iced coffee product at Starbucks, offered to him by a customer whose behavior indicated she wanted him to visit her table.
When I take Ace to a Starbucks, or most anywhere else, it’s usually pretty apparent who wants to meet him and who doesn’t, and I restrain him accordingly. I don’t have to compile any data or crunch any numbers, I can just tell. It’s not brain surgery, or computer science.
Even though most people go to Starbucks for the free Wi-Fi, or the expensive coffee, I’d estimate about one of two customers wants to meet my dog. Ace — and this isn’t true of every dog — has a way of figuring that out himself, and generally will avoid those who show no interest in him, unless they are in the process of eating a muffin or pastry, in which case he’s willing to overlook the fact they may not be dog lovers.
What makes the numbers even more impressive is that 8 of every 10 customers at your typical Starbucks are under the spell of their computer device and not at all cognizant of what’s going on around them.
Ace is sometimes able to break that spell, at least he does for me.
As for me, I’d rather have access to Fido then Wi-Fi anyday. Fido will soothe me. Wi-Fi will likely, at some point, make me angry and frustrated. Fido will focus me. Wi-Fi will distract me. Wi-Fi will accost me with uninvited and intrusive messages, and send me alerts, and remind me of all the things I need to do today. Fido will remind me all those things aren’t really that important and can wait until tomorrow. Wi-Fi will take me out of the moment; Fido will keep me in it. Wi-fi has no soul. Fido does, and his presence allows our souls – those of us who have them — to be refreshed. Dogs keep us from becoming an entirely manic society.
No one, if I have my laptop on, will want to come up and pet it, except maybe Farhad Manjoo, who — while not having the least bit of interest in my dog — is probably curious about my gigabytes and apps.
On this much I will agree with Manjoo: There are dog owners who seem unaware that not everybody will delight in their dog, oblivious to the fact that some might find their dog annoying and intrusive. Similarly, though, there are parents of children who don’t realize not everybody will delight in their antics. Similarly, too, there are grown-up people who fail to realize that they themselves are annoying and who we’d prefer not to have inflicted upon us.
Unfortunately, we can’t just ban them. Our choices are limited. We could work on being tolerant – of all ages, sizes, shapes and species, despite their noise, intrusiveness and abrasiveness levels. Or we could go somewhere else. Or we could complain.
Sometimes, when visiting a Starbucks or other coffee place, I wonder if I should lodge an official complaint with management about Wi-Fi — objecting to its omnipresence, and how it seems to be turning people into keyboard-pushing zombies.
“No,” I’d say, “I’m not technically allergic to it, but I’m uncomfortable with it near. I’ve had some bad experiences with it. Sometimes it bites people when they least expect it, and I’m pretty sure it harbors germs.”
“But it’s wireless,” the manager might say.
“Exactly,” I’d say with a huff. “Put a leash on it.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 14th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, apps, behavior, cell phones, coffee, common sense, computers, culture, devices, digital, dislike, dog, dog friendly, dogs, dominion, farhad manjoo, fear, gyms, hate, laptops, leash, leashed, love, manners, parks, pets, place, privileges, public, rights, slate, society, starbucks, technology, unleashed
A civil rights lawsuit was filed in federal court yesterday on behalf of Gary Hesterberg, the California man who was Tased by a National Park Service ranger after being detained for having one of his two small dogs off-leash.
“There is something seriously wrong when walking your dog off leash in a National Park can get you Tased,” said Michael J. Haddad, Hesterberg’s attorney.
”The law is clear that an officer may only Tase someone who poses a substantial and immediate threat. All Gary Hesterberg did was walk away after receiving his leash warning.”
Hesterburg, an electrician from Montara, California, had previously filed an administrative claim seeking $500,000 in compensation from the United States and the ranger for his injuries and the violation of his civil rights.
That claim — a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit against the government — was rejected by the Department of the Interior on January 25, 2013. The complaint filed in court yesterday is a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Park Ranger Sarah Cavallaro stopped Hesterberg in January of 2012 as he was walking his dogs in Golden Gate National Recreation Area and warned him that both of his dogs needed to be on a leash.
When Hesterberg attempted to walk away with his dogs she shot him in the back with her Taser, caused him to be arrested, and had him taken to jail, the lawsuit says.
Hesterberg, the lawsuit says, told Cavallaro he had a heart condition before she Tased him.
The lawsuit says the type of Taser used can deliver 50,000 volts of electricity. After the ranger pulled the Taser barbs from his back, Hesterberg remained in handcuffs for three hours, and remained in jail until after midnight, the lawsuit says.
The district attorney declined to pursue any charges against him.
The United States Department of the Interior found that Ranger Cavallaro’s conduct was consistent with park service policies: “From our review of the circumstances surrounding the tasing for Mr. Hesterberg, it appears that the officer’s actions were reasonable.”
(Photo: Hesterberg and his dogs, a beagle and rat terrier, San Francisco Chronicle)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 22nd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, california, civil rights, dog, dog walking, dogs, federal court, gary hesterberg, golden gate national recreation area, lawsuit, leash, national park service, pets, ranger, rules, tased, taser, tasing, unleashed, walking
Using a stun gun to subdue a man whose dog was unleashed was not a violation of policy, the National Park Service says.
The park service’s Office of Professional Responsibility cleared ranger Sarah Cavallaro of potential discipline in April, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.
Cavallaro used a stun gun on Gary Hesterberg, 51, after detaining him for walking at least one of his dogs without a leash in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in January. She said Hesterberg gave her a false name and refused repeated orders to remain at the scene.
This week, Rep. Jackie Speier released a letter she received from Frank Dean, the general superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It said Cavallaro’s use of the stun gun was “within policy and consistent with the training she received.”
Speier, who believes using the stun gun “reeks of inappropriate use of power,” has been trying to get the park service to discuss the findings of its investigation into the incident since April, but had been told they are confidential.
“…The way the (park service) has handled it since they’ve completed the investigation reflects a sense of arrogance,” she said.
Hesterberg was arrested on suspicion of failing to obey a lawful order, having dogs off-leash and providing false information, but San Mateo County prosecutors declined to charge him.
A lawyer representing Hesterberg filed a $500,000 claim with the park service last month.
(Photo: San Francisco Chronicle)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, discipline, dog, dogs, dogwalking, findings, gary hesterberg, golden gate national recreation area, investigation, jackie speier, leashes, national park service, park ranger, pets, policy, stun gun, unleashed
Columbia, Maryland, could have its first dog park by spring 2013.
After receiving support last month from Harper’s Choice Village Board members and residents, the Columbia Association has recommended that a dog park be built off Rivendell Lane near the Columbia Association SportsPark, the Baltimore Sun reports.
“We conducted a pretty extensive search through open space to find a dog park,” association landscape architect Jan Clark said. “The site, we think, is really good … and the Harper’s Choice board is supportive.”
The Harper’s Choice Village board unanimously approved the plan at it’s June meeting. The Columbia Association has tentatively approved $10,000 in planning costs and $80,000 for construction, Clark said. She estimated construction could begin by February 2013.
Howard County’s only current dog park is at Worthington Park, in Ellicott City, which opened 10 years ago.
The County Department of Recreation and Parks Advisory Board is looking at the possibility of building a dog park on the east city of Columbia at Blandair Park.
“Columbia has something in the neighborhood of 90,000 residents, and there’s not (a dog park) located in Columbia or is at all that convenient to Columbia,” said Denis Ellis, Columbia Association’s director of capital improvements. “There is a tremendous interest in dogs and people feel this is a great amenity to have. We think that ideally it’s likely that two dog parks in Columbia would be well-supported and get a lot of use.”
Ellis said that association’s decision to look in Harper’s Choice was, in part, influenced by the county’s plan to place a dog park on the east side of Route 29.
The county has identified two sections of Blandair park as potential locations for a dog park, construction of which wouldn’t begin until the fall of 2013.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, approved, blandair park, ca sportspark, columbia, columbia association, columbia association sports park, dog park, dogs, ellicott city, harpers choice, howard county, maryland, off-leash, pets, unleashed, village board, worthington park
Officials in Abington, Mass., say the town’s “crown jewel” has a Problem, with a capital P and that rhymes with D and that stands for dog.
They say dogs are posing a “serious health problem” especially around the pool area at Island Grove Park, which is often referred to as “the crown jewel of Abington.”
Dogs aren’t legally allowed to be unleashed at the park – but dogs are running loose, nipping at guests, and “depositing feces and urine in the public pool area,” according to the Enterprise, in Brockton.
“It’s an absolute health issue,” Park and Recreation Superintendent Mark Chirokas said at a meeting of the town selectmen. “It’s frustrating.”
Park and Recreation Commission Chairman Russell Esau said the problem came to a head in September when the board received “a complaint” from a resident.
That led to installing signs around the pool area and at Eager Beaver summer camp, also on the park grounds, reminding pet owners to clean up and keep their dogs on leashes.
But the signs don’t seem to have worked too well — especially at night when large numbers of dog walkers descend on the park.
Since 1975, the town has banned dogs from being in any town park or water unless they are kept on a leash, subject to a $100 fine.
Town Manager John D’Agostino said on top of legal concerns about possible dog bites, many dog owners do not clean up after their dogs properly.
“What happens is (excrement) is being deposited in barrels. Then it becomes a health issue with the employees who have to clean the barrels,” he said
The selectmen are looking at a couple of solutions, including the obvious one: BUILD A DOG PARK!
But they seemed more intent on the idea of cracking down on scofflaws by increasing the hours that the town’s animal control officer works from 10 hours a week to 15, and requiring the five new hours be spent handing out warnings and citations at Island Grove.
The selectman did say they will at least look at the idea of putting a dog park on a 64-acre town property known as Griffin’s Dairy.
As one person pointed out in a comment on the Enterprise article, there’s no dog park in Abington — not a one, even though there are 15 town parks, fields and facilities listed on the recreation department’s website.
“Typically more than 50% of households own pets and many of those are dogs, so please tell me why a town like Abington can’t set aside a small area for taxpayers with dogs?” the commenter wrote. “Come on Abington, make some room for your dogs!”
(Photo: From the Friends of Abington Park website)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abington, animal control, animals, concerns, crown jewel, dog, dog park, dogs, feces, health, island grove park, leashed, massachusetts, park, pets, selectmen, unleashed, waste
The council, while nixing plans for a dog beach in the California town, instructed staff to start working on a plan to allow leashed dogs in more parks and build more fenced open space for dogs to run. The city now has one dog park.
The council’s main concerns seemed to be that dog waste could compound existing problems with bacteria levels on the city’s beaches, and that its limited and eroding beach space should be reserved for use by people.
“I do think we need to increase the amenities for dogs and pets,” council member Tim Brown said at a Tuesday council meeting. “[But] we don’t have an abundant beach line — we have a strand that has been disappearing over the years.”
Tom Bonigut, assistant city engineer, said any increase in bacterial levels in San Clemente’s coastal waters could result in steep fines from regional water quality agencies.
Even Councilman Bob Baker, a dog owner, was against letting dogs run on the beach, according to Patch.com.
“Your dog should be on a leash at all times when you’re in public,” Baker said. “If you’re letting your dog run around on the beach without a leash, you’re making a big mistake.”
The strand of beach in the proposal runs from Dije Court to Mariposa Point and would have been open to dogs from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m.
“I don’t want to swim in dog poop water,” Mimi Lane (pictured above) told the council, according to the Orange County Register.
About a dozen residents spoke against the beach plan, while about two dozen spoke in favor of it.
The city estimates it is home to about 16,000 dogs, only about 5,000 of which are licensed.
(Photo: Fred Swegles / Orange County Register)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: against, animals, bacteria, beach, beaches, california, city council, concerns, dog, dog beaches, dog parks, dogs, eroding, erosion, feces, leash free, limited, meeting, parks, pets, poop, proposal, rejected, san clemente, unleashed, waste
The council is considering a proposal to let dogs run without a leash, from 4 to 10 a.m., on part of a city beach, between Dije Court and Mariposa Point, for a one-year trial period.
In addition, it’s looking at allowing leashed dogs in every city park, except for playgrounds, sports fields and areas with synthetic-turf, according to the Orange County Register.
The issue is expected to draw a crowd at Tuesday’s City Council meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall.
San Clemente dog owners feel like “their dogs are prisoners in the city … it’s either the sidewalk or the street or their yard,” said Don Slater, founder of Friends of San Clemente Dog Beach. The organization has printed 2,000 fliers, urging supporters of a dog beach to email the five City Council members in advance and testify at Tuesday’s meeting. The city’s lone dog park gets too crowded, Slater said. “They can chase a ball or roam around,” he said, “but they can’t play in the ocean.”
Desperate Paws of Orange County, a dog club that claims more than 1,100 members, has already written to the City Council asking for longer hours at the proposed dog beach. The club’s founders, Stephen and Brandi Terry, suggest unrestricted hours from the last Saturday of October until the last Saturday of April and, in the warmer months, 4 to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to dark.
The Terrys say San Clemente is missing out on tourist dollars by not allowing dogs on the beach, and point to Huntington Beach’s dog beach — where dogs have been allowed for more than a decade — as an example of how dog friendliness can increase revenue for the city and local businesses.
San Clemente’s Coastal Advisory Committee voted 5-2 to oppose a dog beach. The city’s Beaches, Parks & Recreation Commission supports a limited hours experiment, though on a different beach.
Parks Commissioner Eric Swartz says the city could be held liable for dog bites, and other opponents say that San Clemente’s limited beach space is too precious to allow dogs to use it.
Commissioner Tom Wicks countered that the benefits of a dog beach outweigh the concerns and argued that households with dogs have rights too.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, area, beach, california, city council, coast, coastal, dog, dog beach, dogs, hours, huntington beach, leash free, limited, orange county, parks, pets, recreation, san clemente, unleashed
The county worker, who was not named by the Sheriff’s Department, was treated for leg injuries and released from a hospital hours after the Friday incident.
Arune Kavaliauskaite, 28, of Altadena, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Los Angeles Times
The Sheriff’s Department said Kavaliauskaite was warned repeatedly after her dog was spotted running without a leash at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center in Pasadena.
After the third warning, Kavaliauskaite became angry, grabbed her dog and got into her car, the sheriff’s department said in a statement.
“The victim was standing a short distance away from the vehicle taking a picture of Ms. Kavaliauskaite in the vehicle for future identification. Ms. Kavaliauskaite accelerated forward with the vehicle into the victim striking her in the legs and knocking her back into a parked vehicle,” the statement said.
Kavaliauskaite drove away from the scene but was arrested at her home later that evening.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrest, Arune Kavaliauskaite, assault, behavior, california, county, dog, dogs, Eaton Canyon Nature Center, employee, leash, leashed, news, off-leash, park, pasadena, pets, rules, struck, unleashed, warnings
Call him a concerned citizen or a con man: An entrepreneur in the UK is apparently posing as a dog warden and issuing citations — payable on the spot — to people who neglect to clean up their dog’s droppings or let their dogs run unleashed in the park.
Dog owners in Ramsgate’s Ellington Park are being targeted by the man, who demands fines be paid immediately, and in cash, according to Thisiskent.com
The Friends of Ellington Park group has received complaints about the man who asks for 50 pounds from park users who run afoul of the law.
“We’re horrified to learn that someone may have been pretending to be a council dog warden and collecting money in this way,” said Thanet Council leader Clive Hart.
The council’s dog wardens do issue citations, but don’t require them to be paid on the spot, he noted.
Friends of Ellington Park chairperson Sheree Bell said the con is a result of a lack of official enforcement: “There is an issue around dog fouling in the park and there aren’t enough dog wardens around, so it was only a matter of time before someone tried to cash in on it.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, citations, con man, dog, dog warden, dogs, ellington park, feces, fines, impersonating, kent, park, pets, poop, poser, ramsgate, thanet, tickets, uk, unleashed, waste
A new twist in the case of the Tasered dog walker: After a park ranger informed him she would use her Taser if he walked away, Gary Hesterberg informed her he had a heart condition.
She, seconds later, as he turned her back to her, fired anyway, according to a witness quoted in a Patch.com report.
Given the offense Hesterberg was being detained for was an unleashed dog, given the park ranger’s mission that day was supposedly “educating” dog owners about the new policy, we feel her use of a stun gun falls clearly into the category of over-reacting.
Her use of force was not just unnecessary, it was potentially deadly, and even though Hesterberg originally supplied her with a phony name, even if he may have been argumentative, even if he was aware that the park service had started requiring leashes in Rancho Corral de Tierra two months earlier, the bottom line is 50,000 volts of electricity for one unleashed dog doesn’t add up to anything but brutality.
Howard Levitt, spokesman for the park service, said Hesterberg repeatedly tried to flee the scene, and that the encounter between the dog walker and the park ranger ”moved into a different realm” when Hesterberg gave her a fake name.
“He didn’t have ID and gave a name that turned out to not be his actual name … In checking that out — it’s standard procedure to run somebody’s name when you’re dealing with someone who might be a danger — she asked him to remain on the scene, as we understand it, and more than once he refused to stay there,” Levitt said
If Hesterberg had been placing strange packages under the Golden Gate Bridge, that would be one thing. But he was walking his dogs. There is no reason — other than over zealous law enforcement, which isn’t a good reason at all — that should escalate into a potentially deadly encounter.
Given a choice of worst case scenarios, I think allowing Hesterberg to go home, and catching him, if it’s really all that important, the next day would be preferable to potentially executing a man for an unleashed dog — if not for reasons of logic, then at least for the park service’s public image.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, california, dog walker, dogs, editorial, gary hesterberg, golden gate national recreation area, law enforcement, leash laws, montara, national park service, park ranger, pets, rancho corral de tierra, stun gun, taser, unleashed, walking