Wednesday, July 25, 2007

And the Batter Has Two Strikes and No Balls On Him

Bit of an update from the previous couple posts, made possible, mostly, by a phone call that I received this morning from the city solictor. My supposedly humourous observation that DW was wearing a shirt, which must have meant something official was going on, turned out to be dead on: court date. DW pled guilty to owning a dangerous dog and accepted all the prosecution's demands in exchange for the dog being returned to him. (Had he pled not guilty and still been found guilty, he might not have gotten DWD back. So, in a way, good for the schmuck taking the course that would ensure that DWD wouldn't be put down. However, it means he can never appeal the decision.) And what are these conditions?

Construction of an enclosure in the back yard. Sorry, DW, city bylaws won't allow the chicken coop you've erected in the front yard. Animal Control is expected to swing by to inform him of the bad news and review the conditions.
DWD must be muzzled and leashed whenever it is outside and not in the enclosure. Well, DW's already blown this one as he's been outside several times with DWD sans muzzle or leash, including going to and from the Double Widemobile. Actually, it's standard procedure.
DWD cannot be allowed to leave the house on its own. Our ever wily hero erected a suitcase barricade in the open door on Saturday, which DWD easily jumped within an hour. Thus far, no improvements to the original idea have been forthcoming. Animal Control is expected to veto this as well.

Now, I'm not a vindictive person—well, okay, a little; that DW has had possibly a dozen warnings and we've been forced to this point makes me want the dumb fuck to suffer a bit for being too cool and/or a turd by consistently ignoring them—so I'll offer a couple suggestions, which might solve the third problem. I imagine that the door is kept open because Maison Double Wide traps heat like flypaper traps … some kind of bug. So, two ideas:

(1) Buy a screen door. Simple and more or less does what DW and the Double Wide Action Team have been pursuing already with the open door—improve air flow.
(2) Buy an air conditioner, either the window unit kind or the portable ones. Keep your doors closed and cool off the modern way. Both options cost money, but then he's paid several hundred dollars in fines already.

I can't believe for a second that neither suggestion has been offered up after all these years, so I can only assume that there are religious or political implications for why he's rejected both.

What does this mean going forward? Well, the city solicitor told me that if DW fails to comply, he'll be in violation of a court order, which probably carries stiffer punishment, including fines, jail time, and/or losing DWD. Surely he'll be smart enough not to fuck up yet again, won't he?

Alright, settle down with your laughter and hooting. Another possibility is intriguing. Castle Double Wide has a basement suite, and I assume only it has access to the backyard (hence DW spending his life on parade in the front). So, if DW's lease doesn't include the backyard, he might well be fucked (sorry to go all legalese on you). His options would be to (1) ignore the lease and build the enclosure in the backyard anyway; (2) get permission from the landlord/basement tenant to build the enclosure in the backyard; (3) give the dog up; or (4) move away. I'll let you in on a dirty little secret: I'd prefer #4, even tho it would mean the end of this blog. A small price to pay for potentially improving the neighbourhood. But that's all hypotheticals and suchlike. We only deal with reality here—with purple dragons swooping down on busses driven by angry talking penguins.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Build It and The Dog Might Come Back

Yesterday had a little bit of everything that makes the Double Wide experience so worthwhile. There's something to be appalled by, something to be amused by, something that makes you question whether some members of the human race are actually devolving.

Let's backtrack a bit to Monday morning. I returned a call to my city's solicitor, who had left a message for me on Friday to talk about our hero. She had my number because of my involvement in the previous case in which DW was found guilty of violating leash laws, including his dog going after a delivery boy. She asked how he'd been since that case, and I said that nothing had changed but that I'd given up calling Animal Control because it had no effect. She then asked about the incident from a few weeks back, in which DW's dog (DWD) attacked another dog. I said that I wasn't a witness to the attack, but that I could say that DWD hadn't been tied up that evening prior to the attack. She then asked how DW had been since being visited by Animal Control. I said that it was like any other visit—he dutifully leashes DWD for a week or two then either figures the heat's off or gets lazy or forgetful, and we're back to where we were. She was more than a little annoyed to hear this—my guess is that DW was strongly warned by the Animal Control officer the last time that there were significant repercussions for not complying—and said that she'd be sending Animal Control back to reinforce the message.

She did one better. Yesterday at noon, two Animal Control officers and a cop showed up at Chateau Double Wide. DW wasn't there, but it looks like Little Dick was, and he surrendered the poor dog. So, what might the reaction be? A friend thought that I wouldn't see anything because he wasn't likely to pitch a fit in the front yard. I said that his entire life is on display in the front yard, so why wouldn't this? Point goes to me.

Alas, my friend was right. When DW came home around five-ish, there was no great display of rage, confusion, frustration, or bewilderment. However, an hour or so later, the cop came back and briefly spoke with DW. A little bit of gesturing from DW, but my guess is that he was being more deferential to a big cop (as opposed to female Animal Control officers).

And then the story took a turn for the Double Wide Classique.

Around eight in the evening, a half ton shows up and backs into the front yard. From within emerged the Double Wide Action Team (DWAT). (I wanted to use Superfriends but DC Comics' lawyers are quick and merciless. I'm pessimistic about action figures for the same reason.) Hmmmmm, this seems promising. Indeed. A bunch of posts connected with mesh are thrown out. Are they erecting a fence for the yard? No, that's too ambitious. Nope, it's a simple enclosure. Ah, but what an enclosure? It's hard to describe what I witnessed without collapsing into paroxysms of laughter. It was the construction technique of brain-damaged orangutans (with all due apologies to any orangutans who might be reading).

• Digging holes for the poles? Nope.
• Measurement of any kind? Nope.
• Use of a level? Nope.
• Use of rocks or, better, cement to stabilize the posts? Nope.

The "technique" was, basically, to pick a spot for the post, take a sledgehammer and whack that muthah into the ground. I will grant one thing, tho: the DWAT did stretch the fencing so that it would reach the existing fence, so kudos, DWAT, kudos.

Centuries of Engineering Knowledge Employed … By Someone Else Far Away

Now, apart from the obvious instability of the entire fence given that there are no holes—just posts hammered into the ground without any kind of supports—there doesn't appear to be any kind of gate. It would appear that they left an opening near the front steps, but unless they grab a piece of plywood to serve as the gate (pleasepleaseplease), they've constructed a jail with an open door. (Based on this morning's evaluation, there might be mesh in the hole, but I can't be sure.) Or maybe DWD is expected to jump in an out of the front window. You'll excuse me if I don't attempt to dwell too long in the DWAT's collective imagination. Still, it's worth emphasizing that the thing was constructed with basically one tool—a sledgehammer. Just think about that for a minute or two.

I would hope (I won't go so far as to say assume) that Animal Control won't just turn over DWD on DW's word that he's built an enclosure, that they'll actually come out to inspect it first. And that they'll point the flaws in its construction (i.e., stability, opening) before releasing DWD. This is all prior to a hearing, keep in mind, so this might well be a moot point.

One additional moment of amusement from last night, the lone female DWAT (also known as a Double Widette) made her contribution to the process by ascertaining that the fence was dirty, and so hosed down a few sections. Ah, much better. Make-up on a pig …

The Final Touch: Hose Off That Bit of Dirt

So, what does all this mean? Well, it might be enough for DW to get DWD back, however temporarily. But as for him properly controlling DWD, colour me skeptical. Simply leashing DWD would have done that but that act was too onerous for DW. What is there to compel DW to put DWD in the enclosure? Having undergone risky surgery to give me abilities to divine the future, I see DWD in the enclosure for ten to fourteen days—until the heat is off or DW gets lazy—and then it will be back to the old ways—open door, DWD coming and going as it pleases, people being chased. Like a bad sitcom, sticking with what works.

The Final Product: Awkward Angles Intentional

P.S. As we "went to press," DW and a DW-ette headed out. He was wearing a shirt so it might be official-like.

Update from the same day! DW arrived home not too long ago (four-ish) and has DWD in tow. Well, not really in tow because that would imply some level of control. But you know what I mean. No inspection of the pen from anyone in authority, thus validating—no, what's the the complete opposite of validating? Let's go with invalidating—my faith in those whose job it is to enforce the bylaws. Way to let him think he can continue to get away with shit. Countdown for the dog to run loose begins … now!

Update the Second. Those who had roughly twenty-two hours before DW gets lazy, claim the pot in your pool. Yep, DWD is sitting on the lawn beside the enclosure.