Okay, so I’m sitting in my study the other day on a bright sunny morning with a clear view of my front yard as I sip on my first cup of steaming java, while scanning an assortment of emails. Since my home is in the proximity of a park, I often see people walking their dogs and heading toward the multi-acre greenbelt along FM 1171. The rush of caffeine had just begun to do its job of snapping me out of that dreary break of day grogginess when I noticed something that caused my adrenalin to take over the assignment. A middle-aged man, who was walking about 10 feet behind his large, black, unleashed dog, continued to walk as the animal stopped on my lawn and deposited a large mound of waste product. I almost ran outside in my robe and slippers when I saw the gent casually stroll along, passing by the fetid pile of dung on his way to the park. By the time I pulled on some jeans and a pullover shirt, the filthy slob was out of sight.
I fetched a small plastic bag from the kitchen cabinet and a dustpan from the garage before approaching the canine discharge and sweeping it inside the translucent sack. After a quick drenching of the discolored spot with some short bursts from the garden hose, the turf was beginning to look green again. Several minutes later I was back at my computer, but this time I had my running shoes on. Alas, I didn’t get the chance to render my opinion to the disgusting sleaze-ball with the meretricious mutt because they apparently took another route to get back home. There are many dog-walkers in the neighborhood and the great majority of them are considerate enough to keep their pets on a leash, walk them off the curb and carry a pickup kit to clean up after them. However, the type of dog-walker I described in the opening paragraph is personally offensive because he didn’t show the least bit of concern as he allowed his pet to dump his disease-producing feces on a well-manicured lawn and simply scamper away.
It’s not the dog’s fault; he’s merely doing what animals do in the wild. But, you have to wonder what type of person his owner is if he can put up with such obnoxious behavior without compunction. One can only imagine what his house and lawn looks like if he has no respect for cleanliness. In addition, suppose I had confronted him and demanded that he remove the reeking debris? Apparently, he didn’t have the tools with him to do so, hence, it could have developed into a nasty argument. This puts decent people in a difficult situation because we can’t just sit by idly and tolerate such insufferable behavior, but, we’d rather not get involved in a violent dispute. That being said, people like this loathsome chap must be challenged, otherwise, they’re very likely to think they’re invulnerable to criticism for their repulsive deeds. Many people take their dogs to the local parks to do their “business” and most can be seen carrying the necessary implements to clean up and dispose of the waste.
A sign posted at the entrance informs people that pets must be secured by a leash and violators will be subject to a fine. Yet, anyone who frequents the recreational areas will tell you that there are always some people who disregard such warnings. That’s sad because children come to play in those open spaces and one can only imagine how often they’ve rolled around in some of that infectious garbage. Inasmuch as I’ve never seen any police patrols in the nearby park, it’s doubtful that anyone has ever been cited for their illegal conduct.
I’ve had the pleasure of keeping some marvelous pets in my life, but none compare to the fun and loving embrace of “man’s best friend.” Everyone, but especially children, should experience the warmth and non-judgmental love that can be enjoyed when that furry, tail-wagging buddy greets them at the door each day with unqualified affection. Nonetheless, having a pet comes with responsibility. We all live under a social contract in which we try to be respectful toward the rights of others. When that contract is broken we often end up in the dreaded position of getting personally involved, which, in turn can lead to legal action. No one wants that, but no one wants to tolerate uncivilized comportment either. Sadly, there are people who simply don’t want to get implicated; therefore, the bad behavior becomes normalized. I hope that some who read this can relate to it, whether as the perpetrator or the victim, and act responsibly.
Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor.