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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Since we moved in to our current home on Stewart street we have consistently spent quite a bit of time outside. It's no secret that my wife loves plants and landscaping, and I enjoy being with my wife (and I'm getting to like the yard work as well), so hanging out in the back yard with the dogs is a typical evening.

The back yard borders a church parking lot, and on any given evening lots of people ride bikes, jog, or walk the church parking lot. On any typical evening people will stroll by and the dogs may or may not bark (though they usually give bicyclist a good chase). Most of the neighbors have come to know Dobie and Haley as probably the most spoiled dogs on the block, the next door neighbor has them eating dog biscuits out of his hand a couple of times a day.

On any typical evening we also have one consistent passer-byer. The first few times I saw her I thought it was a rather funny site. She's a mature woman, probably in her 50's with dark hair. She typically wears a dark jogging suit of some sort. That in itself isn't all that funny, it's her mannerisms and her big stick that caught me as humorous the first few times she walked by.

First, the stick. Now I know people to carry a stick say when they're hiking in the woods, to help keep them stable or to move branches around, etc. This lady carries probably a 6' bo staff, for the lack of a better term. And she carries it like one would carry a bo staff, if one were trained to use it by their local Tae Kwon Do academy. So that was a pretty funny site to see.

Second, her mannerisms were entertaining. As she walks, periodically she'll stop, turn around, and scan the area, as if to look for the next thug to take a thumping from her bo staff.

What was entertaining became annoying, as she would stop closer and closer to our backyard. Of course the dogs would bark, but the barking seemed to make her stop longer and thereby increasing the time the dogs would bark. And of course while stopped, she would glare in our direction. Now this is a free country, and I don't think there's anything prohibiting one from glaring, so I didn't think much of it.

Periodically when I go for a bike ride in the neighborhood, I'll run across a house with aggressive dogs. I love dogs, have two big ones at home, but if I run into unknown dogs on a bike ride, I typically make a mental note to just ride around that area. Apparently some people don't think like me (not a surprise).

One evening I heard the dogs barking so I went to see what they were barking at. The stick lady (aka the "hissing lady" by some other neighbors). Was glaring at them. In a gesture of politeness, I called the dogs off the fence. She informed me that I "had better control my animals." I informed her that she should probably walk another way...

So after I told her she should walk another way, she told me that I "had better control those animals." Which she ended with a "shutup!" as the dogs continued barking.

That was Jennifer's queue to race out after her to talk. She tried to reason with her, telling her if she spoke to the dogs in a friendly manner and didn't present an aggressive stance the dogs would stop barking. The lady wouldn't have any part of the conversation...

Cut to a few days later when Jennifer, and the dogs are in the backyard when she walks by again. This time she waves a can of mace/pepper spray in addition to her bo staff. This time, I thought I should go talk to her. I met her on the street, with her on the other side. I asked her for a moment of her time as politely as I could. She wouldn't even stop walking. She instead informed me that I needed to stop harrassing her, and that she had contacted her attorney. I responded that we would do the same.

In the following days I have spoken with our PAR (Police Area Representative) Officer. He was very friendly and said the first thing he needed was to ID this person. He said the next time she walked by, wether she caused a problem or not, to call 911 and tell the dispatcher that our PAR officer requested an ID of the person. I did as he asked the other night, unfortunately the response time was a bit slow (which we expected for a non-emergency like this). The responding officer, also very friendly, said he would talk with the other guys that work the area, and to call again if we see her so they can get an ID and try and see if she'll just walk another way.

In the meantime I set up a webcam to watch the backyard and e-mail us when there is movement along the fenceline so I can check it from work. You never know what a crazy bo-staff carrying, mace weilding lady will do when you're not at home.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I said . . . keep the dogs QUIET!

My attorney has a big stick too, and we're gonna sue you and your noisy dogs too!!!!

6:55 PM  
Blogger Duane Keys said...

Still hiding behind anonymity I see! I would be careful where you walk, for fear of a well placed anvil or other ACME product! HA HA!

7:51 AM  

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