Before we get into this discussion, I have to proclaim my absolute neutrality on the subject of owning a dog.
I know many people whose lives are all the richer for having Fido and Rover nipping at their heels as they parade along. One person with whom I dealt in an enforcement capacity said, at his hearing, that he had two kids and two dogs, and if he ever had to choose, the kids better get packing. And he was not kidding, kids.
I also know many people who shudder at the very thought of being within 100 yards of a dog.
See right in the middle there, between those two views? That's where you find me. We've never had a dog, but we were always thrilled to dogsit the amazing Heidi (right), a dog who was smarter than many people, especially considering that Heidi never once during her wonderful life drove a car while drunk or stuck a knife in a toaster. So please be assured that I am not in the anti-dog club.
I am in the Follow The Law club, which brings me to this. Peggy and I like walking a mile or so a day. Even beyond the physical benefits, it's good to get out in nature, breathing in the good air outside and seeing the sights. We enjoy walking on quarter-mile tracks; four spins around that oval and there's your mile right there.
High schools have good tracks. We like the one at nearby Parkville High, but the other day we found ourselves over by my beloved alma mater Towson High, so we set off for a stroll there.
Right outside the entrance to the track area was a sign advising all dog owners that dogs must be leashed, and quoting the specific county ordinance requiring this simple step.
Well, first thing we saw was a dog so huge that, at first glance, it looked like a horse. Old Marmaduke was leashed and being walked by his owner.
But guess who wasn't? Every other dog we saw! And they were in the company of prosperous-looking, upright citizens, not thuggy-looking ne'er-do-wells. Dogs large and small cavorted free of leash on the soccer field and around the track.
And let's say that all of the owners were prepared with plastic bags and removed all of the poop from the ground. Let's say that. I didn't see any evidence of it, but the point I'm getting to is, why is that people feel empowered to break the law so blatantly and let their dogs scamper at will while they stand in huddles of two and three and discuss...how their dogs are scampering?
I'm guessing that if these people saw another violation of the law later that night, they would have been all worked up about it. Why they felt that everyone so enjoyed the antics of Ol' Butterscotch and Gobbler that they wouldn't mind dogs running up to them, I can't tell you.
But I'll be glad to hear about it, if you can explain.